Bill to Amend CBN Act passes second reading

A bill to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act on Wednesday passed through second reading at the House of Representatives.

The bill provides for the appointment of a person, other than the CBN Governor, as the Chairman and the exclusion of CBN Deputy Governors and Directors as members of the bank’s Board of Directors. It also seeks to divest the Board of the power to consider and approve the annual budget of the bank.

The bill according to its sponsors will enhance transparency and entrench the principle of check and balances in the administration and operations of the CBN. Leading debate on the merits of the bill, Rep. Adams Jagaba (PDP- Kaduna) said the amendment sought was basically on the appointment of chairman and members of the board, responsible for policy formulation in the bank. He observed that out of the 12 members of the board as presently constituted; only the Accountant General of the Federation and the representatives of the Ministry of Finance were from outside the CBN.

Jagaba said the amendment was also necessary to make the CBN Act conform to the Fiscal Responsibility Act.  Reps. Samson Osagie (ACN – Edo), Leo Ogor (PDP – Delta), Arua Arunsi (PDP – Abia) all spoke in favour of the bill.  The lawmakers agreed that the bill was timely to fill in the “lacuna we have discovered in the Act.”

Other members, who supported the bill, said the amendment would also ensure that the salaries and wages of CBN staff conform to the template of the Salaries and Wages Commission.  Rep. Simon Arabo (PDP – Kaduna) in his contribution said, “This amendment sought by this parliament will whittle down the powers of the CBN.”  The bill, which was not opposed by any of the members, was referred to Committees on Banking and Currency, and that of Justice.  The House also passed for second reading a bill for an Act to establish the Nigerian Assisted Reproductive Authority.

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