The Senate has commenced a move to ban the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Deputies from participating in partisan politics.
This is coming just as the senate has passed two bills into second reading, seeking to bar the CBN governor and the Deputies from partisanship.
The bills were sponsored by the Senator representing Kogi West, Sunday Karimi and his counterpart from Abia Central, Darlington Nwaokocha.
During the debates on the bills, the lawmakers proposed that Section 9 of the CBN Act be amended to insulate the CBN Governor and the Deputies from participating in politics while in service.
The two legislators also proposed that the Auditor-General of the Federation, Chairmen of the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) and the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Nigeria (CIBN) be represented on the board of the CBN.
Presenting his lead debate, Nwaokocha said the Bill would ensure that the banking system was repositioned to play its primary role of financial intermediation for the benefit of investments and economic growth in Nigeria.
He said: “Mr. President. Distinguished Colleagues, permit me to lead the debate on the general principles for the amendment of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007. This Bill was read for the First Time in this Hallowed Chamber on Tuesday, 10th October, 2023.
“This Bill seeks to amend Sections 6(1), (2); 8(1) (2) (3) (4) (5), 12 (1) (2) (3),13 (1)(2) (3) (4) and paragraph 8 of the first schedule to the Act to strengthen the Bank and make provision for the appointment of a chairman of the board, provide for responsibility to quicken and deepen execution of the Bank’s mandate. This Bill seek to address all anomalies that has hindered the advancement of the apex bank to handle the ailing economy of our nation.
“Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, the thrust of this amendment is to create a people-centered central bank by delivery price and financial system stability and promoting sustainable economic development. As the nation grapples with economic issues, we need to reposition the CBN to grow the economy, regulate the exchange rate and unauthorized financial transactions and dollarizing the economy.
“This Bill seeks to provide for among other things: separate the head of Management from the head of the governing Board in line with national and international good corporate governance practices;
“Establish a proper governance architecture for the monetary authority for optimal policy and operational effectiveness; Enshrine real-time controls and effective accountability in the conduct of central banking in Nigeria
“Reposition the CBN towards pursuit and advancement of its core mandates given the Bank’s pivotal role in the economy; and 44) Position the CBN as an apolitical entity that will become a worthy example in national and international monetary policy, banking sector regulation, currency management, and supervision.
“Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, Specific ways of achieving the above objectives contained in the Amendments being sought is to: Establish the position of the Chairman of the Board of the CBN with cognate qualifications and experience suitable for achieving the renewed objectives of the Bank;
“Establish an effective and efficient Board for the CBN with enhanced independence and neutrality for comprehensive policy and operational Board oversight; Provide for an additional position of a Deputy Governor to achieve due balance in geo-political representation of all zones comprising Nigeria and robust engagements in the administration and policy of the CBN;
“Guarantee internal and parliamentary oversight besides credible accountability to the Nigerian people; and clearly emphasize the ubiquity of Financial Reporting and Corporate Governance as key responsibilities of the Board and Management of the CBN.”
However, in his contribution, Senator Adams Oshiomhole, opposed the second reading of the bill, arguing that the case of the immediate past Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, which was the case in reference was a consequence of the absence of governance and the will to enforce the extant laws.
The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Barau Jibrin, who presided the plenary, said: “It is important that we reposition our laws and the CBN Act to make sure that the apex bank is put in the best position to perform its function.
“An integral part of the arrangement of every country is making sure that every country has a Central bank that will be in control of its monetary policies, because if one is not able to get right there, then that will be something that will be described as catastrophic.
So, the two bills that are been brought to the Senate are commendable and the robust debates that took place showed the passion in the minds of every Senator here in making sure that all is done to put the apex bank in the best position to perform its function in a way that the country’s interest will be well protected.
Accordingly, Barau referred the bill to the Senate Committee on Banking, for further legislative input and to report back to the Chamber within two weeks.