The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is again on the radar as the nation’s lawmakers plan revisiting the Act establishing the apex bank.
The Senate President Godswill Akpabio disclosed the need for the National Assembly to revisit the legislation behind the CBN during ministerial screening at the Senate following nominee Adebayo Adelabu’s request for new laws instilling oversight of the apex bank amid recent “controversial” decisions that appeared to pit the apex bank against other policymakers in the Federal Government.
Adelabu, a former CBN Deputy Governor on Operations, proposed “subtle oversight” by the Economic Management Team, whom he said would interrogate several of the decisions of the central bank.
The Economic Management Team includes the Ministers of Finance; Budget and National Planning; State for Budget and National Planning; Industry, Trade and Investment; Agriculture; and Information and Culture; the CBN Governor; Special Adviser to the President on Economic Matters; and Directors-General of the Budget Office, the Debt Management Office, and the National Bureau of Statistics.
To this suggestion, Akpabio called for a review of the CBN Act.
“I think this is food for thought for distinguished senators, and that means we must revisit the act that set up the CBN because most of the problems we are seeing cannot be answered by him but he cannot stand here and condemn the very institution to which he belongs,” he said.
“But he has at least hinted (to) us that it is not every decision that he agreed with, or the other deputy governors agreed with. So, we probably would not have been where we are now if indeed we had proper oversight and monitoring of the CBN by the act itself.”
Adelabu’s disclosure comes months after a string of heavily criticised decisions by the CBN, most notably the naira redesign policy at the peak of the hotly contested 2023 general election campaigns.
One of its critics was then Minister of Finance Zainab Ahmed, who complained about the CBN’s refusal to consult her ministry before moving to redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes and discontinue the old bills within an unprecedented three-month window.
Such decisions are believed to have contributed to the travails of policy spearhead and now-suspended CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who is facing a two-count charge of illegal possession of firearms and ammunition at a Federal High Court in Lagos State.