Reacting to the amazing long list of chronic debtors as recently published in some national newspapers, the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders (CACOL) has come out to laud the development which it describes as a bold and proactive on the part of the affected banks.
Commenting, the coalition’s executive chairman, Debo Adeniran, believes that such step would no doubt be opening a new chapter in the core role of the banking industry in the economic base of this country. He opined that the relationship between the banks and their patrons especially in regard to advancing credit facilities to project financing remains a veritable tool for promoting the overall industrial strength of any state and which on a broader scale contributes prominently to determining its overall GDP (Gross Domestic Product).
Debo Adeniran posited that those chronic debtors and their collaborating bankers should be seen, not only as corrupt elements but also as saboteurs of the nation’s economy. “What do I mean? The ‘big men’ especially politician-businessmen, use their state connections and influences to intimidate the banks into granting loans for projects that are neither thoroughly scrutinized to predetermine their credibility or viability as the case might be, as demanded by the practice nor obtain commensurate collaterals so as to ensure that such loans are adequately secured. And what about the Central Bank too that is constitutionally saddled with the responsibility of oversight and supervision of the activities of these banks? Where were they while these unethical practices went on unabated? I dare say, that whatever action is to be taken to deter this dishonest, irresponsible acts should not be restricted to just embarrassing the chronic debtors by publishing their names, steps should be further taken to expose and query their collaborators in the affected commercial banks as well as the Central Bank” he declared.
He decried the common practice whereby the banks openly discriminate against the less privileged loan applicants, regardless of the viability potentials of their projects. He wondered why banks would disregard a favourable feasibility report on a potentially viable project from a fresher in business, say, a brilliant young entrepreneur or a fresh graduate with a brilliant business idea, insisting on him providing a commensurate collateral, even before looking at his papers, while the ‘big men and women’ with unauthenticated projects and with low business acumen, are expressly considered; just because they are whom they are. He affirmed that any act of compromise in generally accepted norm and practice is indeed an act of corruption and should be so treated. According to him, a country’s GDP and economy could only be said to be growing through the empowerment of the yet-to-be established industrialists and not adding to the already established. That amounts to choking up the economic base, narrows its spread and ultimately preventing possible growth in other sectors and human materials.
CACOL is therefore calling on the federal government to engage the main actors in our banking sector as a way of finding a means of overhauling and reengineering the sector, so as to ensure that the economy is broad-based through its project financing policies. Banks owes it a social responsibility to make its services available in all forms to both the haves and the have-nots in the society. Prerequisites for qualifying for credit facilities should be relaxed be made more elastic in such a way that every innovative and developmental minds would cultivate a general sense of belonging in the economic arrangement of this country.
Finally, Mr. Adeniran would want those collaborators too exposed and punished.