Senate to amend CBN’s act, reduce the governor’s powers

THE Senate President, Godswil Akpabio, has revealed the plans of the National Assembly to amend the acts of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as a measure to curtail what he described as ‘overbearing’ powers of the bank’s governor.

Akpabio gave this information on Tuesday, August 1, 2023, while he screened a Ministerial nominee from Oyo state, Adebayo Adekola Adelabu.

Adelabu, a former deputy governor of the apex bank, while being screened, said the country could be saved from some economic decisions of the Central Bank if minority opinions of deputy governors other than that of the governor are considered in its core decisions.

Adelabu’s submission came while he responded to a question from the Senate President who asked that “some of the decisions of the Central Bank  appear to be as if they are a government within a government, for instance, the naira redesign policy.”

Adelabu, in response to the question, said,”There are three highest decision-making bodies in the Central Bank of Nigeria- the committee of governors, the monetary policy committee and the board of Directors. The CBN governor is the chairman of these three committees.”

For Adebayo, CBN’s governance structures has to be reviewed

He noted, however, that the governor is just first among equals.

“We have a Governor and four deputy governors. The governor is like the first among equals. The appointment of the four deputy governors must be independent of the Central Bank Governor so that they wouldn’t be subservient to the governor himself,” Adelabu said.

Adelabu pointed out, that another key concern with the CBN structure was that the reporting line on some key decisions is between the governor and the Presidency.

He stressed the importance of the opinions of the deputy governors in key decisions of the apex bank.

“There should be occasions where the Country’s President needs to get see the entire committee of governors, which comprise of the deputies and hear from their own opinions,” Adelabu said.

He added, “Most of the controversial decisions in the CBN are either taken by three out of five governors. There is always a minority vote, and they should be allowed to have their say.”

He further said that the Presidency should be able to go through the minority opinions of the board of governors and even sound out some deputy governors in some key decisions.

He suggested that the economic management team of the nation, which comprises the fiance Minister, the Minister of National Planning, the CBN governor and the Accountant-General of the Federation, must have some subtle oversight of the CBN in terms of interrogating some of the decisions of the bank.

“If the CBN knows that it has to be interrogated about some of its key decisions on Forex allocation, how it arrived at monetary policy decisions, and the volume of money in circulation, it would be careful in its dealings.”

Akpabio lauded the nominee and regretted poor oversight of the apex bank by the Central Bank, which has plunged the nation into some avoidable economic decisions.




     

     

    “This is a food for thought for the distinguished Senators, and that means we must revisit the Acts that set up the CBN.”

    Akpabio said the nation would have been free from some of the economic hardships it faced if there was proper oversight and monitoring of the CBN through the Acts of Parliament and proper supervision.

    The ICIR has earlier reported how the CBN violates the provision of its Act and lent to the Federal Government to the tune of over N25 trillion has increased Nigeria’s inflationary surge while putting the country in debt mess.

    Akpabio insists the review of the Act would also check the excesses of the apex bank governor.

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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