Senate to amend CBN Act, bar governor from partisan politics

Senate to amend CBN Act, bar governor from partisan politics
Senate to amend CBN Act, bar governor from partisan politics (Photo: The Nation Newspaper)

Two separate bills demanding greater transparency in the operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, passed second reading in the Senate on Wednesday.

The first bill titled: Central Bank of Nigeria (Establishment) (Amendment) Bill 2023” was sponsored by Senator Steve Karimi (APC – Kogi West), is seeking to prevent a person occupying the office of Central Bank Governor from participating in partisan politics.

The second one titled: “A Bill to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007, and for matters connected therewith, 2023”, which was sponsored by Senator Darlington Nwokocha (LP – Abia Central), is seeking for amendments to enhance transparency in the operations of the apex bank.

The first bill is perhaps, to prevent a reoccurrence of an attempt of the immediate past CBN Governor, Godwin Emeifele, to contest the Presidential primaries of the All Progressives Congress (APC) while in office.

Explaining the motivation for his bill, Karimi said the piece of legislation would, if passed, lead to greater accountability and transparency in the operations of the apex bank.

He also said his proposed amendment of passed will prohibit the use of foreign currency in local transactions in Nigeria.

Specifically, Karimi proposed amendments to section 9(2) of the CBN Act which reads: “Notwithstanding the Provisions of this Act or any written law in existence, the Governor and the Deputy Governor of the Bank shall not participate directly or indirectly in partisan politics, nor contest any election, during their tenure in office.”

He also proposed an amendment to Section 20 of the CBN Act, with the insertion of Section 20 (A) immediately after the existing section 20, before the existing section 21.

The proposed amendment reads: “20(A) Prohibition of the use of foreign currency in democratic transactions:

“(1) No person or body corporate shall use any foreign currency as a means of exchange for goods, services and other transactions in markets supermarkets, hotels, restaurants, airports and other places of business in Nigeria except by a Bank, licensed Bureau De Change and other financial institutions duly authorized by the Central Bank of Nigeria to trade, deal and use such currency and no individual or business entity in Nigeia shall advertise, denominate or price its goods or services in any currency other than the Nigerian Naira and Kobo.

“(2) Any person who contravenes subsection (1) of this section commits an offence and shall be liable on conviction to: (a) in the case of an individual, to a fine of N250,000.00 or a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months or both such fine and imprisonment.

“(b) in the case of a corporate entity to a fine of N1,000,000 and a conviction of three months to its officers or directors who authorized or undertook the transaction.”

Sponsor of the second bill, Senator Nwokocha, while leading the debate on his bill, said: “This Bill seeks to address all anomalies that has hindered the advancement of the apex bank to handle the ailing economy of our nation.

“The thrust of this amendment is to create a people-centered Central Bank by delivering price and financial system stability and promoting sustainable economic development.

“As the nation grapples with economic issues, we need to reposition the CBN to grow the economy, regulate the exchange rate and unauthorize financial transactions and dollarizing the economy.

“This Bill seeks to provide for among other things: Separate the head of Management from the head of the governing Board in line with national and international good corporate governance practices;

“Establish a proper governance architecture for the monetary authority for optimal policy and operational effectiveness;

“Enshrine real-time controls and effective accountability in the conduct of central banking in Nigeria

“Reposition the CBN towards pursuit and advancement of its core mandates given the Bank’s pivotal role in the economy; and

“Position the CBN as an apolitical entity that will become a worthy example in national and international monetary policy, banking sector regulation, currency management, and supervision.”
In his remarks after listening to contributions from several Senators, Deputy Senate President, Barau Jibrin, who presided over the session, said, “It is important that we reposition our laws and the CBN Act to make sure that the apex bank is put in the best position to perform its function.

“An integral part of the arrangement of every country is making sure that every country has a central bank that will be in control of its monetary policies, because one is not able to get right there, then that will be something that will be described as catastrophic.

“So, the two bills that are been brought to the Senate are commendable and the robust debates that took place showed the passion in the minds of every Senator here in making sure that all is done to put the apex bank in the best position to perform its function in a way that the country’s interest will be well protected.”

Techrectory with Agency Report.

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See also Senate to Tinubu, declare state of emergency on drug abuse

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Written by Percy Onyeka

A seasoned Tech/Business Analyst, Digital Media Consultant , Publisher and Entrepreneur with more than a decade experience. Online Editor in Chief-New National Star newspaper and a host of clients...

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