ABUJA—THE joint Committee of the Senate and House of Representatives on Banking and Currency yesterday queried the nation’s apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for allegedly spending N1.062 trillion revenue above the N482.167 billion proposed income for the year 2015.
The lawmakers, who lamented that the apex bank overshot its spending in the 2014 appropriation by over fifty percent during the 2015 budget performance and 2016 budget defence of budgetary allocation to CBN, noted that the bank had imbibed the habit of spending more than what was budgeted to it. According to them, “CBN is developing a culture of spend as I earn attitude.”
They added that the bank should have remitted N400 billion operating surplus to government’s treasury.
The lawmakers also queried what they described as the astronomical increase in staff cost from N158.134 billion in 2015 to N408.808 billion as proposed in 2016 budget; and non-inclusion of commission for brokers, Dutch income, in its budget proposal.
They wondered why the CBN should spend N780 million on the dealing room, N226 million for recruitment, N1.5 billion on research, N75.980 billion loss incurred from SWAP, N.8 billion on data collection and about N1 billion on Entrepreneurial Development Centre.
The committee demanded for CBN financial statement, nominal roll, details of foreign and domestic investments, among other contentious issues raised at the meeting.
To address some of the contending issues on the operations and core mandate of the banks, the committee resolved to hold a special session next week with CBN management. Speaking at the budget defence, representatives of the CBN disclosed that the country’s foreign reserve which stands at $27.66 billion might decline further to $18 billion for 2016. On the recent calls for the devaluation of naira, Adebayo Adelabu, CBN Deputy Governor (Corporate Affairs) and Suleiman Barau, CBN Deputy Governor (Operations), while fielding questions from the lawmakers, defended the position of government not to further devalue the Naira.
They, however, noted that the bank did not envisage devaluation of naira and assured of maintaining the $196.97/$1 exchange rate. and other interventions in critical sectors of the economy, including agriculture, power, aviation and SMEs, aimed at stabilizing the economy.
He further disclosed that the sum of N616 billion revenue was realised from the devaluation of naira in 2014 and that a large chunk of the revenue was spent to stabilize the economy through mopping up of liquidity.
Also contributing, Barau, who disclosed that commercial banks had about N8 trillion balances domiciled with the CBN at present, stressed the need to organize real sector reform for banks in the bid to improve lending.