4 May 2012

Nigeria: 'CBN Accounts Duly Audited By AGF'

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has responded to the news making the rounds that it neither audits its accounts annually nor presents same to the Federal Government, saying its accounts are duly audited by the Accountant General of the Federation (AGF).

It also said it employs the services of two international reputable accounting firms in the preparation of the accounts.

The apex bank also clarified that contrary to the insinuation that membership of the CBN board of directors is dominated by appointees from within the institution; saying all members of its board are appointees of the president and are confirmed by the Senate.

Director, Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Ugochukwu A. Okoroafor, said these in a statement Thursday.

While debating on a bill to amend the CBN Act which passed through a second reading at the House of Representatives on Wednesday, a member of the House had argued that out of the 12 members of the board as currently constituted; only the AGF and the representatives of the Ministry of Finance were from outside the CBN.

The bill provides for the appointment of a person, other than the CBN Governor, as the Chairman and the exclusion of CBN Deputy Governors and Directors as members of the bank's Board of Directors. It also seeks to divest the Board of the power to consider and approve the annual budget of the bank.

But Okoroafor stated that the misrepresentation was that the CBN board actually has only two external and five internal members.

He added: "In view of the weighty implications of these misrepresentations, it has become necessary to put the records straight. The financial year of the CBN ends on the 31st of December of each year and the audited annual accounts is usually ready in February in line with the provisions of Section 50 (1) of the CBN Act. No 7 of 2007.

"It is important to state that for the preparation of its annual accounts, the CBN employs the services of two international reputable accounting firms (among the big 8), based on the approval of the President.

"Upon the completion of the audit exercise, the Bank makes the accounts available to the Presidency and to the National Assembly through the latter's relevant Committees. In addition, the CBN is audited by the Auditor-General of the Federation and appears before the Public Accounts Committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives to answer questions arising from the report."

According to him, the banking sector regulator had never been in default of the aforementioned provisions and had been diligent in compliance since the passage of the Act.

"Similarly, the CBN has always forwarded each year, seven copies each of the Audited Accounts and Management Letters to both the Auditor General of the Federation and the Accountant-General of the Federation. Letters of acknowledgement in this relevant matter are usually published in national dailies," he said further.

Commenting further on the board composition, Okoroafor declared that: "Sections 6 (1) and (2) of the CBN Act 2007, provide for 12 members of the Board; five internal and seven external. The Governor and the four Deputy Governors comprise the internal membership.

"There are seven external non-executive members, among who are two institutional members. Consistent with the provisions of the CBN Act 2007, the non-executive members constitute a clear majority of the Board of the CBN. All members of the CBN Board are appointees of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and are confirmed by the Senate."

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