N500bn Not Missing, Says CBN
The Central Bank of Nigeria has said that the story making around that the sum of N500 billion was missing from its coffers is false and baseless.
The Apex bank in a statement signed by the Director, Corporate Communications of the CBN, Mr Isaac Okorafor, and obtained by News Dot Africa on Monday, reads: “the CBN was approached in 2015 by the National Economic Management Team and the National Economic Council (NEC), chaired by the Vice President, to assist State Governments with Conditional Budget Support, in the aftermath of the significant nose-dive in global oil prices and associated FAAC allocations.
“In order to ensure that Nigerian workers got their salaries, pensions and gratuities, and that the economy continued to recover from recession, the Bank provided about N650 billion in loans at 9% with a two-year grace period to 35 States of the Federation. These monies were distributed to the States monthly with documented approval of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Presidency.”
Mr Okoroafor noted that “In closing the Bank’s 2018 accounts, external auditors in their Draft Account, erroneously classified about N150 billion of these loans as bad, which negatively affected the Bank’s Balance Sheet and shareholders fund. The selective conversation being circulated was simply a discussion to ascertain why the auditors took that position and next steps to resolving it. Obviously, it soon became clear that a State Government loan cannot be classified as “bad” or “irrecoverable” when the State still exists and getting FAAC allocations.
“The Bank then reached out to the Federal Ministry of Finance and they jointly gave comfort to the auditors who accepted in writing that these monies would be repaid. On this basis, the auditors reversed the negative entry and the certified that the CBN’s 2018 accounts were a true reflection of the State of Affairs. Reconciliation of Balance Sheet items are regular conversations amongst Senior Management of many agencies and should not be misconstrued as anything but that.
“Had the online media which released the selective recordings sought the comments of CBN as required of journalism practice, we would have provided it,” the statement added.
The statement also debunked the claims in the audio clips noting that “those who listened to the audio can easily ascertain that the conversation had nothing to do with anything fraudulent as purported. The Bank therefore urges all well-meaning Nigerians to disregard this audio and continue to trust that the Bank is doing everything it can to represent their interests in the best possible way.”