The Senate has initiated moves to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act No. 7 of 2007.
Specifically, the upper legislative chamber seeks for removal of Governor of the Central Bank Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele as Chairman of Board of the Apex bank.
The CBN Act No. 7 of 2007 makes any incumbent Governor of the Apex bank to also serve as Chairman of its Board.
But the Senate through a bill sponsored by Senator Umar Sadiq Suleiman ( APC Kwara North ) which scaled second reading , seeks for appointment of a person other than a sitting CBN Governor to be the Chairman of the Board.
The Senate in the bill , also seeks to 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 Bank .
Senator Umar in his lead debate on piece of legislation titled: “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 Chairmen of the board”, said Apex Banks across the globe have different persons as Chief Executive and Chairman of Board .
“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”, he said.
Though Senators like James Manager ( PDP Delta South) , Orji Uzor Kalu ( APC Abia North ) , Enyinnaya Abaribe ( APGA Abia South) etc , opposed the bill but counter submissions made by Senator Jibrin Barau ( APC Kano North ) , Betty Apiafi ( PDP Rivers South ) etc , made the bill to scale second reading .
Indeed, Senator Apiafi in particular said the intended amendment was very necessary in view of the way the incumbent CBN governor , Godwin Emefiele , was branded as 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 to lose confidence in the bank storing the INEC materials”, she said .
The Senate President, Ahmad Ibrahim 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.
Meanwhile, the bill when put to voice vote scaled second reading and was passed to the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions to work on it and report back in four weeks .