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At Senate confirmation, Cardoso pledges to clear forex obligations, restore confidence as naira hits N1,000/$

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The newly confirmed Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olayemi Cardoso has outlined his top priority: addressing the backlog of unsettled foreign exchange obligations to local lenders, which he estimates could be as high as $7 billion.

In a unanimous decision, the Senate confirmed the appointment of Yemi Cardoso as the new governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) along with four deputy governors in a screening session held on Tuesday.

The confirmed deputy governors are Emem Nnana Usoro, Muhammad Sani Abdullahi Dattijo, Philip Ikeazor, and Bala Bello.

Senate President Godswill Akpabio officially announced the confirmation, stating, “The nomination of Olayemi Cardoso is hereby confirmed as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).”

In his pledge to improve the central bank’s transparency and corporate governance while restoring confidence in its autonomy and integrity, Cardoso aligns with President Bola Tinubu’s promise to revamp monetary policy.

One immediate challenge facing Cardoso is the foreign exchange obligations, and he emphasized the need to handle this swiftly.

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He stated, “We need to promptly find a way to take care of that. It would be naive for us to expect that we’ll be making too much progress if we’re not able to handle that side of the foreign exchange market.”

Price stability and a return to evidence-based monetary policies are among Cardoso’s priorities, and he intends to discontinue the unorthodox monetary policies implemented by his predecessor to bolster the country’s currency, the naira.

The naira exchanged at N1,000 to the greenback on the parallel market on Tuesday, the local currency record low, advancing ahead of the official rate which stood at N785 to the dollar as of 1710 GMT.

The currency’s decline has been exacerbated by unmet forex demand on the official market, driven by liquidity shortages and speculative activities in street trading, further widening the gap with the official market, which lifted trading restrictions in June.”

Prior to their confirmation, the nominees underwent rigorous questioning concerning economic matters and various policies during the screening process.

During his interview, Cardoso emphasized his commitment to compliance and pledged that the CBN, under his leadership, would remain apolitical.

He stated, “I believe that the Central Bank under our watch will have no choice but to embrace a culture of compliance. We will not wait for oversight to come and tell us what to do.

“We will ensure that by the time the system passes through us, we catch it and deal with it.”

Cardoso, a former Citibank Nigeria chairman, also promised zero tolerance for compliance violations, asserting that this required a cultural shift and a change in mindset that he would actively enforce.

Cardoso’s confirmation comes after President Bola Tinubu nominated him as the acting CBN governor and appointed four deputy governors. He assumed office last week, succeeding Folashodun Shonubi, the former acting governor of the CBN.”

(Edited by Oludare Mayowa; omayowa@globalfinancialdigest.com; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)

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