CBN Plays the Ostrich, Sits on the Fence over ‘Missing $50bn’ 

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is sitting on the fence over alleged non-remittance of $49.8 billion by government energy firm. The apex bank said it will neither confirm nor deny the existence of  purported a letter written to the presidency by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, central bank governor.
Some observers said the central bank may have been arm-twisted to refuting the letter. Others believe, the CBN governor is not one that could be easily arm-twisted and as such may have other reasons for sitting on the fence.
The purported letter has been been generating heated arguments as to the whereabout of the said missing fund. The National Assembly, particularly the House of Representatives has dwelt on the issue.
 Sanusi, CBN governor alleged non-remittance of $49.8 billion by the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) as inappropriate. 
But the central bank has urged the general public to avoid unnecessary politicisation of a technical matter while awaiting the Broadoutcome of ongoing consultation and reviews.
In a statement by Ugochukwu Okoroafor, director, corporate communications, CBN, the apex bank said the CBN would neither confirm nor deny the existence of such a letter purportedly written to President Goodluck Jonathan.
Okoroafor said the CBN was aware of a proposal to set up a technical team made up of representatives from the Federal Ministry of Finance, the NNPC and the CBN to examine the sources of any revenue leakages and propose appropriate fiscal controls.
“The CBN welcomes these initiatives and believes that they represent a positive contribution to the process of improving the management of the economy, especially if they lead to greater oversight of the finance ministry over oil revenue and improvements on disclosure and transparency in the oil industry,” the statement said.
It noted that the capacity of the CBN to perform its role effectively is strengthened or undermined by the extent to which the nation is able to increase foreign exchange earnings and savings from these earnings, thus boosting the Excess Crude Savings Account, raising revenue levels, providing currency stability and moderating interest rates with limited risks to inflation and financial stability.
“In the performance of this role it is natural for the CBN to be concerned at the low level of accretion to reserves of the Excess Crude Account, spite of strong international oil prices, especially, as Nigeria’s performance is compared with other oil producing economies.”
According to the statement, the CBN is aware that this concern is shared by Mr. President, the Federal Ministry of Finance, minister, state governors, legislators, economist, analysts and all stakeholders involved in managing the economy, and discussion on how to address the matter are being held at highest levels of government.

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