Bureaucratic processes may prolong sale of nationalized banks in Nigeria till 2014

By Laz Ibeabuchi
LAGOS-Indications have emerged that the sale of the three nationalized banks by Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON) may be completed in 2014 despite the numerous applications from core investors expressing interest to buy into them.
Managing Director of the corporation, Mr. Mustapha Chike Obi, who gave the hint while speaking with newsmen yesterday said that a whole lot of processes requiring series of approvals were involved in the transaction, stressing that the Corporation would follow all the due process.
Before now, Chike Obi had stated at different fora that core investors were eager to buy into the banks including, Mainstreet Bank formerly known as Afribank, Keystone Bank, (Bank PHB) and Enterprise (Spring Bank ).
But in a chat with newsmen, he said the Corporation would not hurriedly sell the banks in disregard for due processes, stressing that all necessary approvals must be secured both from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and every other relevant institution.
According to him, the entire process of selling the banks to investors would take about two years from now pointing out that any failure to follow due process would be counterproductive and might attract public outrage, a scenario he said the Corporation is keen to avoid.
“A whole lot of process is involved in the sale of the banks to any investors. We will have to get all needed approvals from CBN and any other relevant institutions. If hurriedly we sell the banks the public will shout and accuse us of not following due process”, Obi stated.
He explained that the banks are now making profit, and are also efficiently managed in line with the corporate governance standards stressing that sale of the banks does not pose any challenge but that due processes must be followed.
After its nationalization of the rescued banks, AMCON which was believed to be the biggest individual shareholder in the nationalized banks with 14 per cent holding in the defunct Afribank; 45 per cent stake in Bank PHB and 70 per cent in Spring Bank, became the sole owner of the banks.
As at August last year, the AMCON boss was quoted as saying that 15 local and foreign investors had shown strong interest in the three banks, which according to him were higher than the number of investors that had targeted the banks in the period it operated as rescued banks.

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