By Adewale Sanyaolu
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has vowed to sanction banks over the non-remittance of Nigerian Content Development Fund (NCDF) in their custody.
CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, gave the warning at a Stakeholders Forum on NCDF Remittances organised by the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) held in Lagos yesterday.
The NCDF was established by Section 104 of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development (NOGICD) Act of 2010.
The Act provides that one per cent of every contract in the upstream sector of the Nigeria oil and gas industry shall be deducted at source and paid into the fund. The Act also gives the board the mandate to manage the fund and employ it for projects, programmes and activities directed at increasing Nigerian content in the oil and gas industry.
Emefiele, who was represented by CBN Deputy Director, Banking and Payment System Department, Jack Ukitetu, however, warned banks to desist from such act, saying the introduction of the Treasury Single Account (TSA) by the Federal Government forbids Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) from operating accounts with commercial banks.
‘‘There are still some funds in banks’ custody under the NCDF, which banks have failed to remit. This is illegal. The CBN will spare no bank found to be wanting in this regard,’’ he warned.
In his remarks, the Executive Secretary of NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, frowned at the illegal activities of some banks still in custody of the NCDF.
He explained that prior to the introduction of TSA, the NCDF accounts were domiciled in some commercial banks where operators remitted the fund. But the introduction of TSA left such accounts in a dormant state.
‘‘But we are aware that some operators, due to no fault of theirs, have been remitting funds into the dormant account. You know that monies can be paid into a dormant account. But to get it out is the problem.
“On our part, we have been sensitising operators to suspend further payment into such accounts with commercial banks. Of course, the banks won’t reject funds because they need it to grow their balance sheets. We have been writing banks with our funds to remit same into our accounts with the CBN,’’ he said.
Wabote noted that with the introduction of the TSA policy by the Federal Government and the need to deepen accessibility of the fund for critical activities created the need to re-engineer the operating model of NCDF.
He reiterated that the board has fully complied with TSA policy by opening naira and foreign currency accounts in CBN, into which all NCDF remittances are to be made, stressing that NCDMB does not operate account in any commercial bank, noting that contributors are therefore expected to pay all remittances into the NCDF accounts in CBN.