NEXIM bank clarifies N50bn alleged fraud, says money used for 62 projects, others

The Nigerian Export-Import Bank (NEXIM), on Tuesday clarified the alleged mismanagement of N50 billion Export Development Fund released by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), saying that 62 projects were supported using the intervention.

Mr Tayo Omidiji, Head of Strategy and Communications Department, NEXIM Bank, made the clarification in a statement issued in Abuja.

Omidiji said that the fund which was wrongly referred to as Rediscounting and Refinancing Facility by the petitioners was to support export-oriented projects toward achieving the Zero Oil Plan of the Federal Government.

According to him, following the release of the fund in February 2018, a total of 62 projects have been supported with a total amount of N52.9 billion disbursed.

“The projects supported are reputable exporting companies with verifiable track records and many of them ranking highly on the list of Top 100 exporters published quarterly by the CBN.

He said that the clarification was to explain a report trending “that a petition has been forwarded to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, calling for a probe of the Managing Director of NEXIM Bank, Mr Abba Bello, over mismanagement of the fund’’.

He further said that the loans granted were adequately secured, mostly with bank guarantees and were all performing, with export proceeds received from 2019 to date.

He said that the export proceeds received from 2019 till date amounted to 90.1 million dollars and 80,000, Euros translating to N34.8 billion, from projects that had so far repatriated their revenues.

“In addition, an estimated 8,062 jobs have been created and/or sustained as a result of the intervention,’’ he said.

Omidiji, however, noted that the immediate focus of the Bello-led executive management was to retool the Bank and return the institution to its pride of place.

He said: “it is pertinent to note that within three years of his resumption in office, the fortunes of the Bank have remarkably improved, with profits of N2.03 billion achieved in 2019 and N1.09 billion in 2018.

“As against a loss of N569 million in 2017 and a much bigger loss of N8.03 billion in 2016, which explains why the previous management could not produce an approved financial statement for three years (2014 to 2016)’’.

He explained that the current management of the Bank, led by Bello, assumed office in April 2017 to replace the former management.

He, therefore, expressed dissatisfaction over the recent incessant attacks on the Bank and its management in a section of the media, predominantly the social media.

He also noted that the said petition was attributed to a faceless organisation identified as Citizens Committee for Corruption Free Nigeria (CCCN), whose address could not be verified.

“However, since the perpetrators of the campaign of calumny appear to be relentless, the bank has found it necessary to put the records straight and allay the concerns of our numerous stakeholders.’’

Omidiji said  that in spite of the malicious attacks, the management remained focused on the task of achieving its mandate of broadening Nigeria’s foreign exchange earnings by funding credible export-oriented businesses in the non-oil sectors.

He, therefore, urged the public to ignore any reporting to the contrary.(NAN)