National Assembly In Power Contest With Sanusi – Lawyer

A legal practitioner and financial analyst, Tilewa Oyefeso on Thursday said the bill before the National Assembly, seeking to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) act is the most important in the history of the country.

Speaking as a guest on Channels Television’s breakfast programme, Sunrise Daily, Mr Oyefeso said it is wrong to allow just one person decide the fate of Nigerians in terms of currency in use.

Citing section 17, 20 and 22 of the CBN act which says “The bank shall have the sole right of issuing currency notes and coins throughout Nigeria and neither the Federal Government nor any State Government, Local Government, other person or authority shall issue currency notes, bank notes or coins or any documents or tokens payable to bearer on demand being document or token which are likely to pass as legal tender.

“The bank shall arrange for the printing of currency notes and the minting of coins; issue, re-issue and exchange currency notes and coins at the bank’s offices and at such agencies as it may, from time to time, establish or appoint; arrange for the safe custody of un-issued stocks of currency notes and for the preparation, safe custody and destruction of plates and paper for the printing of currency notes and disc for the minting of coins; and arrange for the destruction of currency notes and coins withdrawn from circulation under the provisions of section 20 (3) of this Act or otherwise found by the bank to be unfit for use.”

Mr Oyefeso said the National Assembly’s ambition to take back the powers vested on the governor of the CBN is the motive of the lawmakers to seek an amendment of the act that established the bank.

“There is a contest for power; the National Assembly, they want to take back that power. There has always been this conflict which may eventually be resolved by the Supreme Court,” he said.

AMCON may list nationalised banks

The Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON) on Tuesday said it may list three banks that were nationalised as part of a bailout in 2009, instead of selling them to rivals, as it seeks to determine fair value for the banks.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), Mustapha Chike-Obi

Mustapha Chike-Obi, the chief executive of AMCON, said the AMCON will need to find financial advisers before finalising its decision on whether to list directly or sell to competitors.

“AMCON is appointing an adviser that will evaluate and determine the value of the banks, evaluate all the options available to AMCON,” he said.

“We expect our eventual adviser to consider this (listing) among other options,” Chike-Obi said. He said in April that all three rescued banks were now profitable.

Previously, AMCON said that more than 20 firms — banks and private equity investors — had expressed interest in acquiring the nationalised lenders, but AMCON is keen to have them valued before starting any negotiations.

It may opt to take them public if it can get a better deal.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) nationalised three banks changed their names to Mainstreet Bank from Afribank; Enterprise Bank from Spring Bank; Keystone Bank from Bank PHB, for failing to find new investors before a recapitalisation deadline.

The CBN then injected N620 billion into nine banks in 2009, judging that they were dangerously undercapitalised.

Nigeria banks are the healthiest in the world- AMCON CEO

The Chief Executive Officer of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), Mustapha Chike-Obi on Monday said that the banking crisis in the country is over and that the sector should see a substantial recovery when results come in for the first quarter of this year.

The Chief Executive Officer of the Asset Management Company of Nigeria (AMCON), Mustapha Chike-Obi says that the banking crisis in the country is over.

AMCON was set up in 2010 to clean up the banking system in Nigeria following a $4 billion rescue of nine banks that came close to collapse.

Speaking to the Reuters Africa Investment Summit in Lagos, Mr Chike-Obi said earnings in the banking sector would recover well in the first quarter of 2012, after suffering last year because of write-downs on bad debt.

“The numbers we’re seeing in the first quarter are very robust,” he said, adding that three nationalised banks were all now profitable.

“We should wait to the second quarter of this year before passing judgment — I will not tell you that nothing surprising can come up — but the banking crisis of 2007-2009 is over”.

The banking sector was the second worst performing index on the local exchange in 2011, falling 32 per cent, with only oil and gas doing worse.

Seven out of 15 banks listed on the Nigeria stock exchange have announced 2011 earnings, with most posting higher-than-expected loan losses. FCMB has reported a loss while UBA issued a profit warning.

Diamond Bank also reported a loss last year, but swung back to profit in the first quarter.

“Nigerian banks are now the healthiest banks in the world in terms of asset quality and capital,” Mr Chike-Obi said.

He said AMCON was now the largest institutional holder of Nigerian bank stocks “And we’re happy to hold them. We’re not selling.”

AMCON plans to refinance its N1.7 trillion three-year bond with maturities of somewhere between seven and 10 years when the debt expires next year.

The AMCON boss said they were not yet at the stage of seeking investors for the bond, and that a preliminary roadshow in New York, Boston and London next month was more about explaining what asset company is doing than marketing new debt issues.

He said that within four to six weeks AMCON would appoint advisors for the sale of three banks nationalised after a bail out, though it will six months before recommendations are expected.

He said AMCON’s aim was to gradually reduce its operations and cut staffing in the next five years, as a full banking recovery makes it no longer needed.