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Lawmakers lack of urgency return to haunt Nigerian economy

by LOLADE AKINMURELE

December 28, 2017 | 1:45 am
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It’s as though Nigeria never learns.
In a gruesome reminder of the devastating economic impact of last year’s delayed budget passage, which snowballed into the country’s first economic recession in a quarter of a century, Nigerian lawmakers are putting up an all too familiar front by foot-dragging on the approval of executive nominations for vacant positions in the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
The 12-man committee, which is now seven members (two deputy governors and five external members) short, going into the New Year, is scheduled to hold its first meeting of 2018 on the 22nd and 23rd of January, which is barely three weeks away. Yet, the National Assembly has withheld approval of the executive nominations first submitted two months ago in October.
The delay, which sources familiar with the matter say is as a result of the sour relationship between the Presidency and the Senate, is yet another event where the economy chokes under the pangs of political clashes. The Senate has given no official reason for the delay.
The earliest chance for approval is January 9, when the senate resumes after the Christmas and New Year festivities.
“The delay sends a negative signal to investors, as it implies there is poor coordination between the executive and legislative arms of government,” said Tajudeen Ibrahim, head of research at Lagos-based investment bank, Chapel Hill Denham.
“If the Senate fails to speed up the approval process, it will stoke fears over the timely passage of the 2018 budget,” Ibrahim said. “However, I think the current members will be forced to converge an emergency meeting to ensure they convene as planned in January.”
Higher oil prices and production have aided Africa’s largest economy in exiting recession in the second quarter of 2017 and this was backed up by another 1.4 percent expansion in the third.
But with cracks still evident in the economy, whether it’s the wobbling services sector or the hobbling manufacturing sector, excitement has been relatively muted in recognition that the country has some way to go to achieve robust and inclusive growth.
To stimulate the economy, fiscal and monetary policies must work in tandem, according to Muda Yusuf, the director-general of trade advocacy group, the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), one which is threatened by the Senate’s lack of urgency.
“The last thing the economy needs now is for political strains to get in the way of economic growth, as appears to be the case with the delay in appointing monetary policy members,” Yusuf said by phone.
The MPC is the highest policy-making committee of the CBN.
It consists of the governor of the bank as chairman, the four deputy governors of the bank, two members of the board of directors of the bank, three members appointed by the president, and two members appointed by the governor.
In April, Buhari announced the appointment of Ummu Ahmed Jalingo, Justitia Odinakachukwu Nnabuko, Mike Obadan, Abdu Abubakar, and Adeola Adetunji as non-executive directors of the CBN board.
In October, the president nominated Aisha Ahmad in the place of deputy CBN governor, Sarah Alade. He also nominated Adeola Adenikinju, Aliyu Sanusi, Robert Asogwa, and Asheikh Maidugu as new members of the MPC.
Here are brief profiles of the nominees:
Aisha Ahmad
Aisha Ahmad, before her appointment as Deputy Governor of the CBN, was the Executive Director (Retail Banking) at Diamond Bank Plc.
The 41-year old holds a Master of Science, M.Sc. degree in Finance & Management from the Cranfield School of Management, United Kingdom (2006-2007), Master of Business Administration, MBA in Finance, University of Lagos (1999-2001) and a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting from the University of Abuja.
Ahmad boasts 20 years’ experience in investment banking, retail banking, wealth management, as well as consulting and financial advisory. In her previous role as the Head, Consumer Banking at Diamond Bank, Ahmad was responsible for strategic retail products and customer segments such as consumer banking, retail assets, private wealth, management and was accountable for a customer base of over 7 million.
Prior to joining Diamond Bank, Ahmad worked with Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, a member of Standard Bank Group, where she was responsible for Standard Bank’s private wealth business in West Africa. She also worked with Bank of New York Mellon (UK), NAL Bank Plc. and Zenith Bank Plc.
She serves as the Executive Council Chairperson of Women in Management, Business & Public Service, WIMBIZ; a non-governmental organisation in Sub-Saharan Africa peopled by women who have excelled in their different callings in life.
Born October 26, 1977, she is married to Brigadier Gen. Abdullah Ahmad (Rtd), with who she has two sons. Ahmad has progressed to become a globally recognised investment analyst and portfolio manager, being a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and a Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA).
Adeola Adenikinju
Adeola Adenikinju is currently the director at the centre for petroleum energy economics and law, University of Ibadan, Nigeria. He holds a PhD Degree in Economics from the University of Ibadan. He is also a research professor at the Centre for Econometrics and Allied Research, as well as Senior Research Fellow, Macroeconomic Study Group, University of Ibadan.
His research interests include Petroleum and Energy Economics, Macroeconomic modelling, and Economic Development Issues. He has published in reputable Local and International Journals, including the OPEC Review, Energy Policy, Pacific and Asian Journal of Energy, Economic Development and Cultural Change, Nigerian Journal of Economic and Social Studies, and African Journal of Economic Policy.
Adenikinju has consulted for organizations at the European Union, United Nations, the Nigeria Liquefied Natural Gas Company (NLNG), the African Economic Research Consortium, OECD, UNIDO, ECOWAS, UNECA, the World Bank, and the National Data Bank, among others.
He was one of the consultants that prepared the First Perspective Plan for Nigeria. He is also involved in the United Nations Project Link that makes economic projection for the Nigerian Economy. He was also a Visiting Scholar to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) from 1996 to 2005.
He previously served as a Special Assistant to the Presidential Adviser on Energy Matters, between 2005 and 2007, and Senior Special Assistant to the President, Office of the Chief Economic Adviser to the President between 2010 and 2011.
Aliyu Sanusi
Aliyu Sanusi is currently a director at the International Centre of Excellence for Rural Finance and Entrepreneurship (ICERFE), Nigeria. He studied economics at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, before going for a Master’s Degree in International Business at the Lancaster University Management School, where he also obtained his PhD in Economics.
He has taught economics at Lancaster University and Umaru Musa Yar’Adua University, Katsina.
Sanusi has published articles in academic journals, such as the West African Journal of Monetary and Economic Integration, the Nigerian Journal of Economic and Social Studies, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Review, the Jackson State University Journal, The Researcher, UIP Journal of Financial Economics, Abuja Journal of Banking and Finance, Journal of Economics and Allied Fields, and the Nigerian Journal of Contemporary Public Policy Issues, etc.

He has consulted for Heinrich Boll Foundation, Adam Smith International (ASI), and DFID’s Nigeria Infrastructure Advisory Facility (NIAF). His area of research interest include: applied econometrics with applications to monetary economics, international economics and macroeconomics.
Asheikh Maidugu
Maidugu is currently a Director at Federal Inland Revenue Service where he has spent 7 years till date. He was a senior lecturer and researcher at the economics department, University of Maiduguri, Nigeria for 13 years, before moving to debt management office where he, spent three years as the Chief Operations Officer of Debt Management Office.
He has a Bachelor and Master’s degree in Economics from the University of Maiduguri. He later moved to Usmanu Dan fodiyo University, Sokoto for his Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Development Economics and International Development.
His research interest includes Money, Trade and Finance.
Robert Asogwa
Asogwa is the team leader of inclusive growth unit at the United Nations Developmental Program. He holds a Ph.D. Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nuskka.
While at the University of Nigeria, he wrote a major paper on Liberalisation, Consolidation and Market Structure in Nigerian Banking.
His research interest include: financial economics, developmental economics and monetary economics.

 

LOLADE AKINMURELE


by LOLADE AKINMURELE

December 28, 2017 | 1:45 am
  |     |     |   Start Conversation

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