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HomeTop NewsSenate moves to curb CBN Governor's power, proposes independent board chairman in...

Senate moves to curb CBN Governor’s power, proposes independent board chairman in a new amendment

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By Samuel Bankole

The Senate on Tuesday passed a  bill seeking to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act of 2007 for second reading in a move seen by analysts as an attempt to curb the power of the governor of the regulatory bank.

The amendment, which is sponsored by Sadiq Suleiman Umar from Kwara North is to “enable the appointment of a person other than the Governor (of CBN) as the chairman of the Board.”

If the amendment is passed into law and has the concurrent of the House of Representatives, the governor will no longer be the chairman of the regulatory bank’s board as it is presently constituted while a part-time chairman may have to be appointed to oversight the functions of the bank.

This decision is coming on a day that the regulatory bank decided to hike its interest rate in a bid to curb rising inflation in the economy.

Leading the debate, Umar said the bill also seeks to “divest the board of the powers of determining and fixing salaries and allowances of its members and considering and approving the annual budget of the Bank which lie solely with the National Assembly.”

The proposed legislation, according to the Senator, would “close the legal and administrative gaps that currently exist in the CBN and entrench good practices to allow proper oversight of the affairs of the bank for a more comprehensive legislation that will bring it in conformity with related laws and practices in Nigeria.”

READ ALSO: CBN to mop-up liquidity from bank vaults on Thursday, directs lenders to fund their accounts

Umar said the bill when passed would address the need for an enduring legal framework that would reposition CBN to be at par with other apex banks around the world.

Lending their support to the bill, Yahaya Abdullahi (PDP-Kebbi),  Betty Afiapi and Orjj Kalu said the bill was necessary considering the alleged involvement of the CBN Governor in the partisan politics during the recently concluded primary elections of political parties.

Some senators including the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Enyinnaya Abaribe and James Manager were opposed to the bill and demanded the sponsor to provide enough justifications for the amendment being sought.

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan urged his colleagues to treat the bill on its merit rather than the perceived involvement of the CBN governor in partisan politics.

“I will urge us to divorce the alleged contest of the CBN Governor from this bill. Let us look at the bill on its merits”, Lawan said.

After a voice vote in favour of the bill, the Senate President referred it to the Senate Committee on banking, insurance and other non-financial institutions for further legislative scrutiny.

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