In a bold statement at the 2023 Bank Directors’ Summit, the 14th Emir of Kano, Nigeria Sanusi Lamido Sunusi, asserted that a thorough audit of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Limited (NNPCL) could be the panacea to the persistent foreign exchange crisis in Nigeria.
Addressing attendees at the summit, Sanusi criticized the practice of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu serving as the petroleum minister, expressing concerns about the lack of accountability and transparency within the NNPCL. Sanusi asserted that his insistence on probing the NNPCL during his tenure as the Central Bank governor in 2014 had cost him his job, according to Dailytrust.
“The exchange rate needs to be stabilized, and we must address the fundamental question: why is there no money coming in? Why is the NNPCL not able to bring in dollars?” questioned Sanusi, emphasizing that NNPCL’s opaque operations and lack of audits were contributing to the forex crisis.
Sanusi argued for the appointment of a substantive minister of petroleum to curb the excesses of NNPCL, stating, “The idea of the President becoming a petroleum minister is not a good one. We need that buffer; somebody has to be there, so a minister who is held accountable by Nigerians has to be there.”
Represented by the Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Wale Edun, President Bola Tinubu responded to the concerns raised by Sanusi. Tinubu acknowledged the criticality of short-term solutions for liquidity in the foreign exchange market, emphasizing that time is required for the indicated changes to take effect.
“It just takes time,” remarked Tinubu, assuring that efforts are underway to mobilize funds across various timelines. He urged regulators to collaborate with the industry to foster innovations promoting financial access, while banks were encouraged to embed integrity and transparency into their culture and technology systems.
Sanusi’s call for a comprehensive NNPCL audit and his criticism of the dual role of President Tinubu in the petroleum sector have ignited discussions within financial circles, with stakeholders keenly awaiting potential shifts in policy and accountability measures.