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Saturday, April 13, 2024

‘Economic Disparity’: Northern Elders Opposes Central Bank’s Decision to Relocate Some Depts to Lagos

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ABUJA, Nigeria – The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has voiced its strong opposition to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s plans to relocate key departments from its Abuja headquarters to Lagos, raising concerns over widening economic disparities between Northern and Southern Nigeria.

In a statement issued by Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, NEF’s director of publicity and advocacy, the organisation underscored the pivotal role of the departments under consideration – including Banking Supervision (DBS), Other Financial Institutions Supervision (OFISD), Consumer Protection Department (CPD), Payment System Management Department (PSMD), and Financial Policy Regulations Department (FPRD).

These units are deemed vital for the CBN’s functionality as per the Banking and Other Financial Institutions Act (BOFIA).

Suleiman articulated the Forum’s apprehensions, emphasizing that relocating these crucial departments could reinforce Lagos’s dominance in the financial sector while diminishing Abuja’s significance.

While acknowledging the CBN’s intention to enhance operational efficiency, NEF fears the move could negatively impact both the institution and the country at large.

Highlighting several potential consequences, Suleiman explained, “It would require significant financial investment as the CBN would need to allocate funds for setting up new offices, purchasing or leasing properties, relocating employees, and other infrastructural requirements. This would strain the CBN’s budget and divert resources away from other essential functions and initiatives.”

He further noted the possibility of a brain drain, as skilled professionals in Abuja might be reluctant or unable to relocate, thereby affecting the CBN’s performance. The transition, he added, could disrupt operations, diminish productivity, and decrease service levels.

NEF also stressed that the relocation could hinder coordination and communication with other government agencies in Abuja, potentially leading to increased bureaucracy and slower policy execution.

Suleiman expressed concern about the impact on regional economic balance, arguing that concentrating important positions in Lagos could marginalize other regions, particularly Northern Nigeria.

According to him, this move by CBN could foster feelings of neglect or economic imbalance, potentially leading to social and political tensions.

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