The amendment bill seeks to address critical aspects of the Act to enhance the effectiveness, transparency, and accountability of the CBN and its operations.
A Bill seeking to mandate the Central Bank of Nigeria to issue at least, a one-year notice before altering banknotes, and calling in old notes has scaled second reading in the House of Representatives.
The bill mandates that the CBN prioritise public interest when implementing a cash swap policy.
Titled; “A bill for an act to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria Act,” the amendment also seeks to check the autonomy of the CBN Governor.
Leading the debate at Thursday’s plenary, the sponsor of the bill, Rep. Francis Ejiroghene Waive (APC, Delta) said an amendment of the CBN act was necessary to promote accountability, independence, and transparency in the operations of the apex bank.
Waive, who recalled the ensuing hardship caused by the bank’s currency redesign on Nigerians last year, noted the need for the bank to issue a notice of not less than one year, in the event of the need for currency swap or naira redesign.
”This amendment reinforces the need for adequate time for the notice of change of naira notes before exercising the power to call in the old notes.
“There’s a need to check the power of the CBN governor. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. We saw how that played out earlier in the year, such that it led to a naira crunch.
“The bill will improve independence, oversight and prevent potential conflict of interest. It will also public confidence in the Apex bank and expertise of experience.”
According to the lawmaker, there has been a series of impunity by the CBN in the past which was aided by the provision of the CBN Act.
Contributing to the bill, Rep. Chinda Kingsley (PDP, Rivers) observed that the House of Reps has been unable to question some actions of the CBN due to the provision of the act.
“There are several anomalies in the CBN that the National Assembly needs to check. What we are doing today is an attempt to do.
“There is no doubt that the CBN is overdue for legislative oversight. We have gone through the existing act, and have seen a lot of loopholes. We have also seen a lot of impunities play out over time,” he said.
The bill seeks to amend five sections of the existing CBN amendment act, to ensure that the chairmanship of the CBN is separated from the governorship, and ensure a check and balance of the CBN central power; in the absence of the Governor, the most senior deputy governor should take charge of the day-to-day management of the bank.
It also seeks to ensure that the salaries, pensions, and allowances of the CBN governors and deputy governors shall from time to time be fixed by the revenue of Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, and is subject to the approval of the President.
Further, the proposed amendment looks to compel the Apex Bank to submit an estimate of its expenditure and income to the National Assembly through the President at the end of each year.
“The salaries or allowances including pension and other allowances payable to the Governor and the Deputy Governors shall be as stipulated, from time to time, by the Revenue Mobilization Allocation and Fiscal Commission subject to the approval of the President Strengthening Fiscal Accountability”