CBN amendment bill passes second reading

 A bill seeking to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act, 2007 has passed second reading.

This followed the consideration of the bill presented by Senator Dalington Nwaokocha, (Labour Party, Abia Central at plenary on Wednesday.

Senator Nwaokocha who said the bill was read for the first time on October 10 2023, sought to amend sections in the Act of the bill to strengthen the country’s apex bank.

“The sections in the Act of the bill are 6(1), (2), 8(1) (2) (3) (4) (5), 12 (1) (2) (3), 13 (1) (2) (3) (4), and paragraph 8 of the first schedule to the Act”. The amendment seeks to make provision for the appointment of a chairman of the board and provide for responsibility to quicken and deepen execution of the bank’s mandate,”he said.

He said the bill sought to address all anomalies that had hindered the advancement of the apex bank to handle the issues in the economy.

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“Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, the thrust of this amendment is to create a people-centred 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 unauthorized financial transactions, and dollarise the economy. This bill seeks to, 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,” he said.

He said the bill sought to establish a proper governance architecture for the monetary authority for optimal policy and operational effectiveness.

Mr. Nwaokocha, who said the amendment would ensure real-time controls and effective accountability in the conduct of the apex bank also said it would reposition the CBN toward the pursuit and advancement of its core mandates, given the bank’s pivotal role in the economy.

“The bill would position the CBN as an apolitical entity that would become a worthy example in national and international monetary policy, banking sector regulation, currency management, and supervision. Establish the position of the Chairman of the Board of the CBN with cognate qualifications and experience suitable for achieving the renewed objectives of the bank. Establish an effective and efficient board for the CBN with enhanced independence and neutrality for comprehensive policy and operational board oversight,” he said.

Senator Nwaokocha said the bill sought to provide for an additional position of a deputy governor to achieve a due balance in the geopolitical representation of all zones.

The Abia lawmaker said the bill would guarantee internal and parliamentary oversight, as well as credible accountability to the Nigerian people.

“It will clearly emphasise the ubiquity of financial reporting and corporate governance as key responsibilities of the board and management of the CBN. Mr. President, Distinguished Colleagues, this bill will ensure that the banking system is repositioned to play its primary role of financial intermediation for the benefit of investments and economic growth in Nigeria,” he stressed.

The bill, which was read for a second reading after receiving contributions from lawmakers given recent narratives surrounding CBN activities, was referred to the committee on banking, insurance, and other financial matters for further legislative input.