Se­nate lifts em­bargo on CBN deputy govs, MPC mem­bers’ con­fir­ma­tion

The Punch - - FRONT PAGE - Leke Baiyewu, Abuja

THE Se­nate has ap­proved that those nom­i­nated by Pres­i­dent Muham­madu Buhari as deputy gov­er­nors of the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria, mem­bers of the board of the apex bank and mem­bers of the Mon­e­tary Pol­icy Com­mit­tee be screened for con­fir­ma­tion.

Buhari had writ­ten to the Se­nate in De­cem­ber 2017, seek­ing leg­isla­tive con­fir­ma­tion of the ap­point­ment of Mrs. Aishah Ahmad as a deputy gover­nor of the CBN.

The Pres­i­dent had also asked that Prof. Ade­ola Fes­tus Adenikinju, Dr. Aliyu Rafind­adi Sanusi, Dr. Robert Chik­wendu Asogwa and Dr. Asheikh A. Maidugu be con­firmed as the MPC mem­bers to re­place four MPC mem­bers whose ten­ure ex­pired at the end of last year.

Buhari later in Fe­bru­ary 2018 nom­i­nated Ed­ward Adamu from Gombe State as a deputy gover­nor of the CBN to re­place Mr. Su­laiman Ba­rau from Zaria, Kaduna State, who re­tired in De­cem­ber 2017.

The con­fir­ma­tion re­quests, how­ever, got to the Se­nate af­ter the law­mak­ers had re­solved to sus­pend fur­ther con­sid­er­a­tion of ap­point­ments made by Buhari to protest against the re­ten­tion of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as the act­ing Chair­man of the Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion.

The Se­nate was also irked by the po­si­tion taken by Vice-pres­i­dent Yemi Os­in­bajo, then as Act­ing Pres­i­dent, that ex­ec­u­tive ap­point­ments did not re­quire leg­isla­tive ap­proval.

At the ple­nary on Tues­day, the Chair­man, Se­nate Com­mit­tee on Bank­ing, In­sur­ance and Other Fi­nan­cial In­sti­tu­tions, Se­na­tor Rafiu Ibrahim, moved a mo­tion to urge the law­mak­ers to lift the em­bargo on the con­fir­ma­tion of ap­point­ments by the Pres­i­dent.

Ibrahim said the non-con­fir­ma­tion of the deputy gov­er­nors of the CBN and mem­bers of the MPC was neg­a­tively af­fect­ing the econ­omy, es­pe­cially for­eign di­rect in­vest­ments.

He stated, “I rise on the is­sue per­tain­ing to a very sig­nif­i­cant aspect of the coun­try’s econ­omy, know­ing from in­cep­tion of the 8th Se­nate that the 8th Se­nate is pro-econ­omy, pro­for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment and pro­for­eign con­trol­ling in­vest­ment. We are all aware that in Jan­uary, be­cause of the res­o­lu­tion of this Se­nate, that all con­fir­ma­tion ac­cord­ing to all Acts of the Na­tional Assem­bly pend­ing with us should be sus­pended forth­with.

“I rise to ask that the Se­nate should con­sider the pos­si­bil­ity of us tak­ing (out) the very im­por­tant aspect of the econ­omy, which is the Mon­e­tary Pol­icy Com­mit­tee. The MPC is made up of 12 mem­bers; about seven from the pri­vate sec­tor and five in­side the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria.

“As of to­day, only three of them are valid. Al­most all other mem­bers, their ten­ure ex­pired by De­cem­ber last year and that cul­mi­nated into the MPC meet­ing not held on Jan­uary 22 and 23; and the next meet­ing is March 19 and 20.”

The law­maker added, “I want to ap­peal to my col­leagues. We have three re­quests re­gard­ing the board of the cen­tral bank; two deputy gov­er­nors, who are also mem­bers of the MPC; and the MPC mem­bers who are mostly in the pri­vate sec­tor.

“The MPC is a cre­ation of the CBN Act, which is au­tonomous. It is not run by the board of the cen­tral bank but each meet­ing of every two months both­ers on the econ­omy. As it is to­day, it is al­ready af­fect­ing the for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment into Nige­ria. Some for­eign port­fo­lio in­vestors are al­ready leav­ing, some that are sup­posed to come are not com­ing.

“I just want to ap­peal that we take only the aspect that af­fects the Mon­e­tary Pol­icy Com­mit­tee, which is the in­de­pen­dent mem­bers and the two deputy gov­er­nors that are mem­bers of the MPC, so that the com­mit­tee can con­tinue to sit and di­rect the af­fairs of the fi­nan­cial sec­tor, which is the heart of the econ­omy.”

Se­cond­ing the mo­tion, the Deputy Ma­jor­ity Leader, Se­na­tor Bala Ibn Na’al­lah, said he was happy that the Se­nate had the com­mit­ment to co­op­er­ate fully with the Fed­eral Gov­ern­ment on ev­ery­thing re­lat­ing to the econ­omy and good gov­er­nance of the coun­try.

“For the three years that I have been here and hav­ing the priv­i­lege of be­ing the Deputy Se­nate Leader, there was never a time that this Se­nate has failed or ne­glected to act in pur­suance of that com­mit­ment. In view of this, I think it is a very straight­for­ward mo­tion. I urge that we take it,” he said.

The Deputy Pres­i­dent of the Se­nate, Ike Ek­w­ere­madu, also backed the call for lift­ing of the sus­pen­sion on the CBN ap­point­ments.

He said, “A wise man is a man who changes his mind if he has to. I think it is im­por­tant that we re­con­sider our stand in re­spect of our ear­lier res­o­lu­tion on con­fir­ma­tion and be able to make an ex­cep­tion in re­spect of the is­sue of the MPC.

“I be­lieve that it is im­por­tant that we make this ex­cep­tion so that our econ­omy will not col­lapse and the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity will con­tinue to have con­fi­dence in our econ­omy.”

The law­mak­ers unan­i­mously granted the prayer.

The Pres­i­dent of the Se­nate, Bukola Saraki, re­ferred the nom­i­na­tions to Ibrahim’s com­mit­tee for fur­ther leg­isla­tive pro­cesses.

He said, “Let me par­tic­u­larly, again, ac­knowl­edge and thank you, my col­leagues, for the states­man­ship role you have con­tin­ued to play. This has been a cham­ber that has al­ways been for the econ­omy and for us to do all it takes to en­sure that we see in­vest­ments, ease of do­ing busi­ness and give con­fi­dence; and that is what we are do­ing here.

“Inas­much as we con­tinue to de­fend the in­sti­tu­tions and democ­racy and the Con­sti­tu­tion that we have all sworn by, it is time to also look at the pri­or­i­ties and un­der­stand what is im­por­tant.”

Buhari had in March 2017 sought the Se­nate’s ap­proval for the ap­point­ment of Prof. Ummu Ahmed Jalingo (North­east), Prof. Justi­tia Od­i­nakachukwu Nnabuko (South-east), Prof. Mike Obadan (South-south), Dr. Abdu Abubakar (North-west) and Ade­ola Ade­tunji (South-west) into the Board of the CBN.

•L-R: Ogun State Com­mis­sioner for In­for­ma­tion and Strat­egy, Otunba Ade­dayo Aden­eye; Com­mis­sioner for Ed­u­ca­tion, Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy, Mrs. Modupe Mu­jota; Com­mis­sioner for Com­merce and In­dus­try, Otunba Bimbo Ashiru; Ogun State Gover­nor, Ibikunle Amo­sun; Com­mis­sioner for Bud­get, Ms. Aden­rele Adesina; and Com­mis­sioner for Agri­cul­ture, Mrs. Ade­peju Ade­bajo, at a press con­fer­ence on the Ogun State In­vestors’ Fo­rum 2018, in Abeokuta ...on Tues­day. Photo: Ogun State Gov­ern­ment House

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