After the consolidation of banks in Nigeria, CBN the apex bank from late last year to early this year deceived Nigerians that the banks were so healthy and safe thereby leading investors and depositors astray, I think it is not just enough to sack these Managing directors and executive directors or even publish the names of Debtors, it should tell us what went wrong and why the facts were hidden before now.
But who is to blame for the situation in the banks- the MD’s, the Directors, the contractors, the Federal Government or the apex bank that started it all. Most people say CBN cannot be exonerated in this issue, because the apex bank is an institution and not just an individual. Others say the federal government also has a case to answer here as most of the debtors are contractors and business men who have worked with the federal government and have not been paid even years after the contract has been completed, if the government had provided necessary infrastructure like electricity and good roads the overhead cost of these would have been lowered and so leave a better bottom line to pay back regularly, among others.
From the list published by the apex banks, Intercontinental bank is owed the sum of N210.90 Billion, Afribank is owed N141.86 Billion, Oceanic Bank is owed N278.21 Billion, Union Bank is owed N73.58 Billion, Finbank N42.45 Billion which sums it to N747 billion. Well it would be very correct to say that most companies in Nigeria spend so much money generating their own power and this would account for the overhead cost. Record shows that as far back 2007, the executive secretary of Manufacturing Association of Nigeria, Ikeja branch said a small pharmaceutical company in Ikeja spends N5.0 million on Diesel every week while it spends N20 million every month, and N240 million yearly on diesel, with this the company would increase the price of their product in other to make profit. Daystar Christian centre spends over N50 million annually on diesel.
Another analyst notes that firms in the country spend as much as 20 – 40 percent of initial investment on the acquisition of facilities to enhance electricity supply, thus effectively eating deep into loans the firms might have taken from the banks. Apart for the pain of generating their power supply, the difficulty they go through transporting the goods to different parts of the country where in some cases they lose these goods to bad roads and armed robbers who capitalize on bad roads to round up people for their valuables.
Government also has been held responsible for the huge non performing loans in banks as it has refused to pay contractors for finished jobs. Like the case of Transcorp that owes Union Bank N30.86 Billion apparently took Barth Ubong’s Job.
My question now, who is to blame? The MD’s who authorized these loans in a bid to stay in business because they know they would make profit, or the executive directors who sat together to deliberate the loans knowing full well what the bank would gain, or the Contractors who took a loan to execute a federal government project or even the individual who took a loan to live the life of the Jones.
Nigeria would get there…let’s work together.