Nigerian lawmakers direct central bank of nigeria to suspend sale of polaris bank

The House of Representatives has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to immediately suspend the sale of Polaris Bank Plc, stressing that there was a need to ensure that the divestment in the bank did not jeopardise the core reason for the apex bank intervention in the bank in the overall public interest.

Penpushing reports that, the federal lawmakers, declared that the suspension should be until the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) concluded all processes for open, transparent, and competitive bid process.

The directive followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance byHon  Henry Nwauba (APGA-Imo) at the plenary on Wednesday, stressing that, public attention had been drawn through a circulation currently on social media in respect of the proposed sale of Polaris Bank for N40 billion.

Penpushing further reports that, Nwauba argued that the divestment should be done most transparently following the required due process, emphasising  that this was necessary to avert public outcry and untoward reaction from critical stakeholders in the economy, foreign business partners, banking community, depositors and correspondent banks.

The federal lawmaker added that it was crucial to avoid the shortcomings of a previous similar exercise undertaken in the past, noting that  Polaris Bank was borne out of the bailout of the defunct Skye bank Plc that failed due to poor corporate governance and non-performing loans.

Penpushing also reports that, Nwauna  said, this was for which close to a trillion naira of public fund was committed to resuscitating the bank, adding that the proposed sale was shrouded In secrecy and was opaque and required that it was done in transparency and accountability to eliminate insinuations of corruption.

The lawmaker in the motion said the transited defunct Skye Bank was a systemically important bank with a large pool of employees, customers, and other stakeholders, stating that the bank without a bailout would have had a serious contagion effect on the economy and global perception/reputation.

Penpushing reports that, in view of this the assembly therefore set up an ad hoc committee to within 20 days, review the total outlay by the Nigerian Government  in Polaris Bank and account for the entire financial input in the bank by the Federal Government.

The lawmakers emphasized that this should be through Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) and the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) to determine whether the conditions and terms of sale were likely to ensure positive return on public funds thus far committed to the bank, whether as bailout funds or other investments.

Penpushing further reports that, the Nigerian lawmakers then urged the committee to take any action necessary to ensure that the public funds committed to Polaris Bank were appropriately documented and accounted for.

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