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Former Minister Accuses Banks Of Frustrating Economy

Nigeria’s former Minister of Education, Hon. Kenneth Gbagi, has said commercial banks in the country were responsible for the nation’s financial and economic woes.

He accused the banks of engaging in economic sabotage through shady and malicious disbursement of foreign exchange to cronies, associates and foreigners.

The former minister, who was a guest on BEN TV’s current Affairs programme, Dialogue in Diaspora, said that the fight against corruption by the current administration would be unable to solve Nigeria’s perennial foreign exchange scarcity until commercial banks, and their operators, are made to account for the disbursement of all dollar allocations from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Barrister Gbagi, who dismissed the claim that Nigeria currently does not have enough foreign exchange, claimed that Nigeria has enough dollars to meet the demands of genuine end users in manufacturing and other services.

He said however that banks deliberately sold same to cronies, friends and associates who are often non-Nigerians carting the money abroad.

He said many of the people who are currently having access to dollars from commercial banks engage in hoarding or capital flight as they did not believe in the ability of Nigeria’s economy to rebound strongly.

The former minister said that there would be enough dollars in circulation to force down the current high exchange rate if Nigeria’s president issued an order compelling CBN to instruct all commercial banks in Nigeria to give an account of how they have disbursed the dollars allocated to them and for what purpose.

He said the EFFC, CBN and other financial intelligence services have failed Nigerians for their inability in identifying financial and economic criminals who engaged in dubious dollar transactions to the detriment of the country.

Hon Gbagi claimed that every single dollar allocated by the CBN to banks, or any other relevant agency, in the last 16 years, is traceable if the government has the will to deal with economic and financial criminals and their accomplices.

He added that the EFCC and ICPC should be given more free roles to operate under their mandate as independent organisations and commissions as they need to be commended where positive results where achieved.

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