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NASS proposes political restriction on CBN governors


Buhari NASS

The National Assembly is pushing for amendments to the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 to prevent top officials of the apex bank from participating in partisan politics.

Initiated by former lawmaker Darlington Nwokocha, the amendment aims to prohibit the chairman, governor, and deputy governors of the CBN from engaging in political activities or joining any political party for three years after their service.

A part (amended section 8) of Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 (Amendment) Bill 2023 read:, “The Chairman, Governor and Deputy Governors shall not engage in or be a member of any political party until three (3) years after disengaging from office.”

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The move comes after former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, was drawn into politics ahead of the 2023 presidential election, causing tension due to controversies surrounding the naira redesign.

Senator Nwokocha’s bill proposes significant changes to the CBN’s structure and governance. The bill mentioned, “There shall be for the Bank a Board of Directors which shall be responsible for the policy and general administration of the affairs and business of the Bank.”

Furthermore, the bill proposes that these top executives be initially appointed for a five-year term, with the possibility of reappointment for an additional term not exceeding five years.

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The bill stated, “The Chairman, Governor and Deputy Governors shall be appointed in the first instance for a term of five years and shall each be eligible for reappointment for another term not exceeding five years and no more.”

Additionally, the proposed law mandates the CBN governor to provide semi-annual reports to the National Assembly, covering the bank’s monetary policy efforts, activities, objectives, and future economic development prospects.

According to the bill, “The Board shall, from time to time (a) keep the President informed of the affairs of the Bank, including a report on its budget; and (b) make a formal report and presentation on the activities of the Bank and the performance of the economy to the relevant Committees of the National Assembly.”

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To ensure robust oversight, the amendment creates a new Board of Directors for the CBN, comprising professionals with expertise in accounting, finance, or economics, along with representatives from different regions of Nigeria and other relevant stakeholders.

Senator Nwokocha emphasized the importance of these amendments in promoting accountability and transparency within the CBN, ultimately aiming to strengthen Nigeria’s economic governance framework.

The proposed changes will undergo further scrutiny and debate in the National Assembly before potential adoption into law.