The Senate on Tuesday took a step further on the process of removing the governor of the Central Bank Nigeria, CBN as the chairman, Board of the apex bank.
This followed the second reading of “A bill for an Act to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act No. 7 of 2007 to enable the appointment of a person other than the Governor as the chairman of the board”, sponsored by Senator Sadiq Suleiman (APC Kwara North).
The CBN Act No. 7 of 2007 makes any incumbent Governor of the apex bank also the chairman of its board.
But the Senate through the bill, sought the appointment of a different person to chair the board and also divest the board of CBN, powers of determining and fixing salaries and allowances of its members and considering and approving the annual budget of the apex bank.
In his lead debate, Senator Suleiman pointed out that apex banks across the globe have different persons as Chief Executive and Chairman of Board.
He said: “This bill as clearly stated, seeks to divest the Governor of CBN, chairmanship of the Board as obtainable in other countries of the world.
“A different person with requisite qualification and required knowledge on monetary and financial policies, should be made Chairman of the Board.
“Separation of the two positions will enable any sitting CBN Governor to focus more on fiscal and monetary policies than politics of the Institution.”
While Senators Jibrin Barau (APC Kano North), Betty Apiafi (PDP Rivers South) etc, supported the second reading of the bill, their counterparts like Senators James Manager (PDP Delta South), Orji Uzor Kalu (APC Abia North), Enyinnaya Abaribe (APGA Abia South) etc, opposed it.
Senator Apiafi said the intended amendment was very necessary in view of the way the incumbent CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele was branded as a contestant for the presidential ticket of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC in May this year.
“The CBN governor went out of his way to contest for Presidency while in office in the 2022 presidential primary election.
“This would not happen anywhere in the world, given that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) materials were expected to be kept in the bank.
“Godwin Emefiele, having attempted to contest Presidency has made Nigerians lose confidence in the bank storing the INEC materials,” she stressed.
The Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, however, cautioned senators to focus on the proposed amendment rather than dabbling into the alleged attempt by the CBN Governor to contest, as that wasn’t part of the general principles of the bill.
He put the bill to voice votes for second reading which secured the approval of a majority of the senators, he then mandated the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions to work on it and report in four weeks.