The Nigerian Senate Tuesday rescinded its vow not to screen or confirm any nominee forwarded to it by President Muhammadu Buhari. The senate’s tit-for-tat embargo on the president’s nominees derived from the retention of Ibrahim Magu as acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Given the latest development, the Senate says it will screen the two nominees for the position of deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria and the 12 members of the Monetary Policy Committee. The International Monetary Fund, IMF, had raised fear over the non-confirmation of the MPC members of the CBN.
Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, in a motion, urged the senate to reconsider its position.
“I rise on the issue pertaining to a very significant aspect of the country’s economy, knowing that the 8th senate is pro-economy, pro-foreign direct investment, pro-foreign controlling investment,” the senator said.
“I rise to ask that the senate do consider the possibility of us taking 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.
“As of today, only three of them are valid. Almost all other members, their tenure expired in December last year and culminated in the MPC meeting not being held in January (22nd and 23rd) and the next meeting is March 19 &20.
“I want to appeal to our colleagues, we have three requests regarding the board of the central bank – two deputy governors who are also members of MPC and MPC members who are majorly in the private sector.
“MPC is a creation of the CBN Act which is autonomous. It is not run by the board of central bank but each meeting is very important to the economy. As it is today, It’s already affecting the foreign direct investment in Nigeria. Some foreign portfolio investments are already leaving, some that are supposed to come, are not coming.”
On his part, Senate President Bukola Saraki said the upper legislative chamber would continue to ensure the ease of doing business in the country.
Saraki asked the committee on banking to take the necessary action that could bring about the screening of the nominees.
“Thank you for bringing that up. I commend my colleagues for the statesmanship roles that they continue to play. This is a chamber that has always been for the issue of the economy,” Saraki said.
“For all it takes, we will continue to ensure that we see the best in the ease of doing business and promoting confidence.
“Inasmuch as we continue to defend the institution and the constitution, it is time that we look at the priorities and understand what is important.
“Therefore, the senate committee chairman on banking, please ensure that you complete that process so that we can give the necessary support in this issue of the MPC and the deputy governors of central bank.”