By EMMA UJAH
ABUJA—Banks in the country would be required to appoint at least 30 per cent female board members and 40 per cent management staff, as from next year, the Governor of the Central Bank, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has revealed.
The governor who spoke at the Annual Isaac Moghalu Foundation, IMOF, lecture and symposium, in Abuja, yesterday, said the decision was taken with a view to stimulating women’s participation in development and nation building.
According to him, it was “agreed that by 2014 at least 30 per cent of the board seats in Nigerian banks will be held by women and at least 40 per cent of senior management positions will be held by women.
“This year we require that all banks when they publish their statement of accounts, every bank must publish its gender positions, even the Central Bank will not be exempted from this, there is a lot of public pressure on these institutions that fall behind to make them to catch up.”
The CBN boss revealed that in the 50 years of the CBN’s existence “only four women had made it to director level and this was a period when we had 10,000 staff, today we have seven or eight female directors, this comes from a conscious policy of looking for qualified women to take these positions.”
Speaking on the theme of the symposium, “Women in leadership, the Education Pipeline.” the CBN boss also gave an insight into fresh attention being paid to the womenfolk by his organisation, saying that the management and staff were being trained on gender issues.
Mallam Sanusi, who spoke passionately on the need for parents to adequately educate their girls, lamented the high rate of school drop-outs in the North where over 70 per cent of girls cannot read.
“In a state like Jigawa, girls’ completion rate in school are as low as 7.6 per cent. That means that out of 100 girls, less than eight complete secondary school”. 70.8 per cent of girls in the North West between the ages of 20 and 29 years, cannot read. Compared to nine per cent in the west,”, he said.
He questioned the possibility of achieving the desired development in the country “when 93 per cent of the girls in the most populous region of the country do not complete secondary schools”.
The governor challenged female ministers and other female elite to take up the challenge of helping to develop their female colleagues in the efforts towards a better society.
His words, “if you are a female minister and you spend four years on the cabinet and you cannot say after four years what you did for women during the period, shame on you. Not many women help other women and this is really a big problem. So we need to be careful about just thinking that if you have a group of people in top management level things will be different.
“We have in a country like Norway for example, which actually has it as a rule and compels that they must have at least 50 per cent of the board members as women, but if you look at the country, they have a very small number of women that seems to be on the board of most companies, they call them the Golden Skirts.
“We want many skirts out there, and we want these skirts not to be limited to the top of the board because for every one women that make it up there to the board, there are probably up to 5,000,000 or 10,000,000 women in the villages who don’t have access to education, that die in childbirth, they have no access to primary healthcare and they have no jobs.”
Mallam Sanusi also made a case for easier access to credit by women saying, “if you have a credit process that says that you need tangible collateral or landed property in a society where women do not generally hold titles to land you have already cut them off credit to women because men own the land and houses and for you (women) to even approach a bank for a loan is almost impossible.”
He also disclosed that Nigeria’s deposit money banks have continued to cheat customers as evidenced by the recovery of N6 billion customers’ money by the Central Bank of Nigeria in the last one year.
Mal. Sanusi condemned the various infractions by the banks through which they cheat their customers and commended the apex bank’s Director of Consumer Protection, Hajiya Umma Aminu-Dutse who spearheaded the recovery of the money on behalf of banks’ customers.
According to him, “the director of consumer protection has recovered over N6 billion in the last one year for customers that were cheated by banks she takes the sides of banks’ customers even when I plead with her to be gentle with the banks, she is very ruthless.”
In her remarks, the Executive Director of the Moghalu Foundation, Mrs Maryanne Moghalu said the lecture was to examine how to develop women leaders across Nigeria.
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