In a candid address at the Bank Directors Summit organized by the Bank Directors Association of Nigeria, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, cautioned President Bola Tinubu against concurrently holding the position of Minister for Petroleum Resources. Sanusi expressed concerns about potential challenges in holding the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) accountable if the President assumes the dual role.
Sanusi, who served as CBN governor from June 2009 to February 2014, criticized the NNPC as the “most opaque oil company in the world.” He accused the corporation of failing to remit sufficient foreign exchange into government coffers despite the removal of fuel subsidies by the current administration.
Highlighting the need to stabilize the foreign exchange market, Sanusi emphasized the impact of monetary policies over the last eight years on rising inflation and the economic downturn. He urged for transparency in NNPC’s operations, urging the corporation to account for daily oil production, sales, and revenue allocation.
Addressing the president’s role, Sanusi stated, “The idea of the president occupying the petroleum minister office will make it difficult for anyone to raise the question of accountability.” He argued that a buffer, such as a separate minister, should be present to ensure accountability and transparency in the petroleum sector.
Sanusi called for a comprehensive audit of the NNPC to unveil the country’s oil production, exports, and accrued revenue. He reiterated that his insistence on such an audit had cost him his job at the apex bank.
Expressing concern over the banking sector’s trust deficit, Sanusi emphasized that there was no need to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria Act to prevent political influences. He defended the CBN Act as one of the best central banking laws globally, stating, “The solution is not to change the law but to implement it.”
In discussing the use of ways and means, Sanusi pointed out the collapse of checks and balances, urging a return to the central bank’s intended role. He emphasized the dynamic nature of regulations and the importance of ensuring banks are well-managed and understand the associated risks.
Sanusi’s forthright remarks underscore the critical need for transparency and accountability in Nigeria’s petroleum sector, urging a clear separation of roles to prevent potential conflicts.