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Banking bailout not enough

In the course of screening, which lasted for more than three hours, Sanusi displayed an outstanding knowledge of the office he was been screened for.…

In the course of screening, which lasted for more than three hours, Sanusi displayed an outstanding knowledge of the office he was been screened for. Nigerians that had the opportunity to watch the nominee’s intellectual presentation did not agree less that Mallm Sanusi was not only a professional banker, but a fearless intellectual with genuine commitments to national Interest at heart. This he clearly demonstrated when he openly criticized the 7-point agenda of the administration that nominated him for that position. However, one thing remain certain, and that is, inspite of the satisfactory answers given by Sanusi regarding micro\macro economic policies, the Value of our national currency, transparency as well as the solutions he tabled for salvaging various economic predicaments and monetary policies affecting the banking sectors, the nominee failed to answer to the satisfaction of Nigerians the issue of marketing and how it is done in the Nigerian banks. To my recollection, more than 10 senators cutting across gender, tribe, religion and political affiliation threw the question on how Sanusi if confirmed as CBN Governor will tackle the issue of marketing in the Nigerian banking sector as it affects societal decency and how it strains our value system.

It is a well known fact in Nigerian banks today that physical beauty of a prospective employee is used as the primary criteria for employment into the department of marketing in lieu of excellent qualification, productivity and merit. Beautiful young girls and handsome young men are employed under the pretext of marketing/private banking. The primary responsibilities of these promising young men and ladies whose crime is choosing banking as a career, is to mobilized deposits based on specific and outrageous targets given to them ranging from hundreds of millions upward, from public sector, rich and influential individuals and from non-governmental organizations. Considering the level of our country’s economic predicament and the decaying nature of our moral values, where and how do you expect these employees to meet the demand of their employers? The way and manner they do it is dirty, unethical and unprofessional. The ladies, in such conditions, become men’s target, selling their dignity to maintain their jobs and secure deposit from irresponsible public office holders and the so-called rich.

The most disturbing aspect of this unethical practice in the banking industry is that these category of staff who performed excellently well in meeting their targets (irrespective of the circumstances) are often rewarded with juicy portfolios such as branch managers and heads of sensitive banking position as well as accelerated promotions, thus paving way for indecency to take the place of professionalism and merit. On the other hand, those that failed to meet up their targets are left downcast, queried, tied to half salary and in some situations with no salary for months, and then finally disengaged without benefit.

The simple questions that Nigerians like this writer would like to ask are: Can Sanusi Lamido and his lieutenants in the apex bank, who are the policy makers, claim ignorance of this immoral practice in the Nigerian banking sector? Is the Central Bank responsible or not responsible to checkmate and guide the character contents to be practice in the banking sector? Can economic prosperity be achieved under the prevalence of corrupt, unjust and morally bankrupt setting? Does the CBN policy makers try to understudy the rationale behind the present banking palaver that leads to the lost of billions of shareholders funds to improper promotions and assigning of responsibilities to incompetent staff of Nigerian banks? I mean a situation were a staff with zero knowledge of banking operations and with one or two years in the system is given a managerial position just because she\he can mobilize deposit for the bank is questionable. The CBN policy makers should note that the recent bank inspection which resulted to clearing, sacking of chief executives and bailout of some banks, as well as the mechanism put in place to control risk management within the sector, will only have a short term positive outcome, unless this is done along side checkmating the long lost moral and professional discipline within that sector.

Those distinguished senators of the Federal Republic that sought the CBN governor’s (nominee then) position on this issue during his screening on the floor of the National Assembly have demonstrated a dignified moral standing and Nigerians of like minds will so much appreciate if they will team up and push their position to any length towards curtailing these shameful trend in our banking sector to the barest minimum or to ideally, eliminate it. Hopefully, this noble profession that was once upon a time the envy of other professions will bounce back to life and accommodate high ethical moral standard and professionalism which will in the long run, promote accountability, trust and sincerity of purpose. Sanusi and his co-lieutenants and policy makers in the CBN should note that the Nigerian banking sector does not only require financial bailout to be strong, but also needs Moral bailout to remain focused and stable.

 Ringim writes from Race Course Road, Kaduna. [email protected]

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