Ahead of the public hearing on the autonomy for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) by the two chambers of the National Assembly (parliament), some retiring directors of the apex bank have called for dialogue and restraint on the matter due to its sensitive nature.
The privately-owned Guardian newspaper reported Monday that the retiring directors made their position known through the immediate past Governor of the bank, Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, at the send-forth dinner organised in their honour.
According to Soludo, the lawmakers need to have a “constructive dialogue” over the matter “in order to avoid going to the other extreme as the institution of the CBN must be preserved no matter the level of disagreement”.
They also pleaded that disagreements between an individual and members of the National Assembly should not be used to underpin public policy, as this could lead to the destruction of the entire institution.
The directors urged the CBN management to open up channels of communication with the legislators, with a view to establishing a common understanding of the short and long term importance of the CBN’s autonomy.
In a move many financial experts see as a way of weakening the autonomy of the apex bank, the lawmakers have initiated move to amend some vital sections of the CBN Act 2007, which granted both administrative and instrument autonomy to the apex bank in the management of the economy.
The bill has scaled through first and second readings in both chambers and would now be subject to a public hearing.
The lawmakers’ move is aimed at diluting the powers of the apex bank’s board, appointing a part-time chairman and denying the institution the existing statutory powers over its budget.
Several economic and public policy experts have warned that the ongoing move to amend the Act could put at risk the ability of the bank to act swiftly to save the economy, in the event of any systemic crisis.