Following recent reports that the federal government of Nigeria has concluded plans to scrap the fledgling Bank of Industry, BoI, our investigations have unearthed a list of top politicians pressuring the government to close the doors of the bank.
From the report, a bill seeking to establish the NDB passed second reading in the Senate on October 12.
Titled, ‘A Bill for an Act to establish the National Development Bank, 2015’, and sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Gobir, it seeks to repeal the BoI, the Bank for Commerce and Industry Act and the National Economic Reconstruction Fund Act. The bill further seeks to bring the total assets of the organisations under one body to be called the National Development Bank.
Expectedly, we learnt the minister of finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun has given her full backings. Also lending his support to the senate’s move is the governor of Central bank of Nigeria, CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele.
Adeosun, who was represented by a director in Ministry of Finance, Christopher Gabriel, at a public hearing organised by the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions on the establishment of the NDB, said the ministry strongly supported the bill, adding that the proposal was in tandem with the economic reconstruction efforts of the Federal Government.
The Icon reliably gathered that dramatis personae behind the scrapping are actually top Nigerian politicians and government functionaries who sourced loans from the BoI to execute their election campaigns and businesses but could not pay back.
Those spoken to by our correspondents regarding the government’s moves decried the government’s planned action, questioning the rationale behind the proposed scrap.
According to the respondents, BoI is currently doing quite well especially under its current management and it would be reckless to scrap it for any reason whatsoever except for some selfish reasons.
The Bank of Industry is an institution that is committed to rapid development of SMEs in line with the federal Government’s industrial policy focus, within the framework of NEEDS. A part of its strategic thrust is the structured industrial transformation of the nation aimed at stimulation of economic activities throughout the country and mobilization of local resources towards progressive and sustainable growth and development of the economy.
It is also meant to stimulate local entrepreneurship and revamping of indigenous economic activities where comparative advantages can be harnessed. BoI also helps in employment generation, with preference for enterprises with potential to generate foreign exchange.
Interestingly, BoI is the only active Development Finance Institution (DFI) in Nigeria today, and the only one that is a limited liability company as all the others depend on allocations through annual budgets.
The Bank of Industry constantly enjoys ratings from reputable agencies, even more than the regular bank. The bank was rated AA+ by Fitch Ratings, A+ by Agusto & Co and recently, it got AA1 from Moody’s Investors Service, (“Moody’s”). It is evidence of how hard the current management of the bank has worked to take it to relevance.
“It becomes so curious at this point why the Bank of Industry which is doing better than most of the commercial banks in the country would have to be scrapped. On one hand, it exposes the selfishness and hypocrisy of our leaders, right from the grassroots to the top echelon of the government. If you know our politicians well, they do not embark on a journey that does not have treasures laid on the route for them,” a respondent lamented.