News Column

CBN to Screen Bank Workers Before Employment

February 11, 2014

Obinna Chima and Hammed Shittu

As part of efforts to prevent recycling of workers that had been indicted, terminated or dismissed for fraud and other acts of dishonesty within the banking industry, banks have been directed to always obtain written approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) before employment.

The central bank gave this directive in a letter signed by its Director, Banking Supervision, Mrs. Tokunbo Martins, a copy of which was posted on its website yesterday.

The letter addressed to all banks and discount houses, was titled: "Re: The Need for the CBN Prior Clearance of Prospective Employees of Banks."

It however pointed out that the policy does not apply to new employees on the grade of Assistant General Manager and above.

The central bank also directed banks and discount houses to always include as part of the terms of employment (offer letter) that: "the offer is subject to the receipt of satisfactory responses on any background checks or other inquiries on the employee from relevant authorities."

It explained: "We refer to our circular to all banks dated July 16, 2004 on the above subject, wherein banks were required to obtain the prior approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria for all prospective employees.

"The intendment of the above referenced circular was to prevent the recycling, within the banking industry, of erstwhile bank employees indicted, terminated or dismissed for fraud and other acts of dishonesty."

According to the letter, the policy was amended as a result of representations made by banks during the CBN/Banks' Human Resources forum held last December where difficulties in the strict implementation of the circular were discovered.

The CBN therefore added: "New employees of banks and discount houses may assume duty prior to obtaining the approval of the CBN, if this proves difficult or impractical.

"However, for employees that assume duty without CBN's prior approval, banks and discount houses shall, within 30 days of their assumption of duty, submit their curriculum vitae and other relevant information on the new employees to the CBN for clearance.

"Banks are required to continue to obtain the prior written approval of the CBN before resumption of duty for these categories of staff. This circular supersedes our earlier circular of January 16, 2004 and takes immediate effect."

Meanwhile, the CBN has urged the Kwara State government as well as small businesses in the state to take advantage of the N220 billion Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Fund (MSMEDF) it had set aside to reduce poverty.

CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi disclosed this in Ilorin yesterday, during a sensitisation workshop organised by on the MSMEDF. Sanusi who was represented by the Ilorin Controller of CBN, Mr. Onoriode Monday Olotewo said the central bank's objective was to reach out to over two million MSMEs operators in over 10-year period with 60 per cent of women as the major beneficiary.

He said the workshop was organised with the primary aim of the sensitising the Kwara State government, the participating financial Institutions and the organised private sector on the funds.

He explained that the fund has the objective of channelling long term, low interest funds to the small and medium business sector of the Nigerian economy through the participating financial Institution.

He said the central bank had developed an operational guideline for the state governments' participating in the MSME development fund in order to reach those at the grassroots.

The CBN boss maintained that the MSME development fund also performs both social and commercial functions.

He said the social /development fund constitutes 10 per cent, which is made up of grant, five per cent; interest drawback, three per cent; and managing agents operational cost, two per cent. In addition, he said the commercial fund makes up 90 per cent of the fund.

In his remark at the occasion, the governor of Kwara State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, thanked the central bank for organising the workshop for beneficiaries in the state.

He urged the participants and beneficiaries to internalise the sensitisation with a view to achieve the full benefit of the fund. He advised them to try very hard and ensure they meet up with the guidelines to enable them benefit from the earmarked fund.

In his presentation titled: "The Thrusts, Benefits and Requirements for the N220 Billion MSMEDF," the guest lecturer, Mr. Daniel Inyang of the Development Finance Department, CBN, said the essence of the fund was to help people finance their businesses.

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Source: AllAfrica

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