The Northern Elders Forum (NEF) has voiced strong opposition to the reported plans of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to relocate essential departments from its Abuja headquarters to Lagos. In a statement by Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, NEF’s director of publicity and advocacy, concerns were raised about the potential widening of economic disparities between Northern and Southern Nigeria due to this proposed move.
NEF acknowledges the importance of key CBN departments, including Banking Supervision, Other Financial Institutions Supervision, Consumer Protection, Payment System Management, and Financial Policy Regulations. The organization argues that relocating these pivotal components to Lagos might strengthen the economic dominance of the southwestern city while possibly diminishing the significance of Abuja.
While understanding the CBN’s aim to enhance efficiency, NEF expresses worries about the possible adverse effects on both the institution and the nation. The relocation could result in increased costs, talent loss, operational disruptions, reduced coordination, economic disparities, hindered development in Northern Nigeria, and diminished investor confidence.
NEF emphasizes the financial investment required for the relocation process, covering expenses such as establishing new offices, acquiring or leasing properties, relocating employees, and meeting other infrastructural needs. This, according to NEF, could strain the CBN’s budget and divert resources away from its essential functions and initiatives.
In addition, NEF raises concerns about a potential brain drain, as skilled employees may be unwilling or unable to relocate, negatively impacting the CBN’s performance. The temporary disruption during the transition period could lead to delays in decision-making, reduced productivity, and inefficient processes.
NEF also highlights that moving key departments to Lagos would hinder effective coordination and communication with other government agencies in Abuja. This separation may result in increased bureaucracy and slower response times, affecting policy formulation and execution.
Furthermore, NEF points out that concentrating such vital positions in Lagos could exacerbate regional economic disparities, potentially marginalizing other regions, especially Northern Nigeria. This, in turn, might lead to increased feelings of neglect or economic imbalance, creating social and political tensions.
In conclusion, NEF urges careful consideration of the potential consequences before implementing the proposed relocation, emphasizing the need to preserve balanced regional development.
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