Sanusi’s rather ‘Robust Response’ to the Government
In a time where ‘robust responses’ are usually promised and take an eternity to come forth, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has wasted no time in dealing his cards.
In another twist in the Ping-Pong battle between the Central Bank Governor and the Government, an upbeat Sanusi delivered 30 or more pages with close to 10,000 words responding to 35 allegations levelled against him by the Federal Reporting Council of Nigeria (FCRN). , SLS (as we’d rather call him), started off by “setting the records straight” and going into the improvements of monetary policy after the constitution of the Monetary Policy Committee, the improvement after liquidity after headline inflation went down from 3% to 10% in January, 2013. SLS restates the successes enjoyed in currency stabilisation and bank restructuring schemes that broke up universal banks and set up specialised banks. On financial budgets, SLS argued that the CBN had contributed over 370 billion Naira to the Federal budget as Internally Generated Revenue and paid N80 billion to the Ministry of Finance in 2012. Figures, percentages, and statistics are all SLS’ allies at the moment; the Federal Government may require the help of the tooth fairy to knock anything past the CBN Governor. This is without disregarding the plethora of honours which have been bestowed on SLS, from best Central Bank governor in the world in 2010 (The Banker Magazine) to been named best Central Bank Governor by EuroMoney for 3 years running. However the allegations still stood strong and following the foundation of near impeccable work under the CBN, SLS then proceded to knock the allegations out one after the other.
SLS confirmed that he had submitted his responses to the president on the 10th of March, 2014 via a memorandum which addressed every single allegation put against him. However, the possibility of such a response been swept under a carpet containing various open letters, closed letters, an allegation $20 billion and a disgruntled Federal Executive Council, SLS decided to make his responses public in a statement released to investment analysts, Proshare.
Some of the allegations which were key are addressed below, alongside SLS’ responses.
- CBN made fictitious payments to Emirates, Wing and Associated airlines for charter services – SLS stopped short of blowing a fuse on paper. He denied making any payments to Emirates airlines, confirming that the CBN engaged a company called Emirate Touch Aviation Specialists. He confirmed that Wings Airline hd changed their name to Jedidah Air Limited and the figures with reference to Associated Airline was fictitious. The ‘egg-on-the-face’ moment for the Government will be clarifying how they made such clumsy allegations without verifying information from the CBN.
- Allegation that CBN spent N1.2 billion on police and private security – SLS made it clear that costs were tripled when the CBN made the decision to outsource core security duties to third parties.
SLS explained away over 20 allegations of improper expenditure incurred by the CBN from 2011 – 2013. A lot of the explanations also annexed supporting documents and had records to prove the rationale of such expenditure. Unfortunately, one of the allegations, which stemmed on training expenses incurred on staff in the tune of N9.24 billion, was poorly defended by SLS, who simply stated that trainings were important and offered no documentary evidence of said expenditure. The brevity of this explanation juxtaposed with the amount involved, defeated the robustness that many might have expected in this regard. A look at the entire pie proves that the Government has certainly not done any homework in investigating the allegations. With each response, brief as some have been, SLS delivers a salvo to the rather poor investigation done by the FCRN. We certainly hope more light will be shed on the unanswered questions involving training expenses, but for the Government, another notch on their badge of general ineffectiveness.