UPDATED: Senate reverses self, to screen MPC nominees ahead of meeting


March 13, 2018 | 1:56 am
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Ahead of next week’s meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Senate has reversed itself over its resolution not to confirm members of the Committee.

Consequently, it has mandated its Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions to immediately confirm the two CBN deputy governorship nominees and four members of the MPC to pave the way for the MPC meeting.

It was gathered that the nominees would be confirmed this week ahead of the MPC meeting scheduled for March 19 and 20, 2018.

The resolution followed a motion moved by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Rafiu Ibrahim, at Tuesday plenary.

He informed his colleagues that the inability to confirm the nominees sent by President Muhammadu Buhari has stalled the MPC meeting due to lack of quorum.

The MPC of CBN is responsible for formulating the country’s monetary and credit policy.

In July 2016, the Senate suspended all executive confirmation requests until Ibrahim Magu is removed as the acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The resolution affected members of the MPC of CBN, Board of Directors of the apex bank as well as over 40 nominations from the President.

But moving a motion, Ibrahim called for a concession in order to do the confirmation process for the two deputy governors and four other members of the MPC.

According to him, inability to hold the MPC meeting has seriously affected Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) into the country.

The lawmaker disclosed that of the 12 members of the MPC, only three are valid, while the tenures of the others expired since December 2017.

The lack of quorum, he explained, led to the inability to hold MPC meeting in January 22 and 23, 2018.

“MPC is a creation of the CBN Act which is autonomous. It is not run by the Board of Central Bank but each meeting of every two months bothers on the economy. As it is today, It is already affecting the Foreign Direct Investment into Nigeria. Some foreign portfolio investments are already leaving, some that are supposed to come, are not coming.

“I just want to appeal that we take only the aspect that affects the Monetary Policy Committee, which is the independent members and the two deputy governors that are members of the MPC so the committee can continue to sit and direct the affairs of the financial sector which is the heart of the economy,” he said.

In their separate contributions, Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and Deputy Senate Leader, Bala Ibn Na’allah, stressed the need for the Senate to make a u-turn to avoid the collapse of the Nigerian economy.

When Senate President Bukola Saraki, who presided over the session, put the question to voice vote, it was unanimously adopted by senators.

In his remarks, Saraki commended his colleagues for putting national interest above personal interest.

His words: “Let me acknowledge and thank my colleagues for the statesmanship role you continue to play. This has been a chamber that has always been for the issue of the economy. And for us to do all it takes to continue to ensure we see investments, ease of doing business and give confidence. Inasmuch as we continue to defend the institutions and the constitution, it is time we look at the priorities and understand what is important”.

Recall that the MPC meeting billed for January 22 and 23 this year could not hold as a result of the apex bank’s inability to form a quorum as stipulated in the CBN Act 2007.

The MPC meeting where critical decisions on the economy are taken, meets once in every two months, bringing to six the number of times the Committee convenes in a year. The last meeting was held in November 2017.

The 12-member Committee comprises a chairman, who is the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as well as other members drawn from the apex bank and seven members from the private sector.

President Buhari had presented Aishah Ahmad and Edward Adamu to the Senate for confirmation as CBN Deputy Governors.

The President also sought the Senate’s confirmation of appointment of Adeola Adenikinju; Aliyu Sanusi; Robert Asogwa and Asheikh Maidugu to replace four members of the MPC whose tenure equally expired last year.

But the lingering face-off between the Presidency and National Assembly had led to the Senate insisting that it would no longer confirm nominations not expressly stated in the 1999 Constitution (as amended).

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March 13, 2018 | 1:56 am
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