Unlike what happened in the past, the 8th National Assembly is set to subject the spending and appointment into the board of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to scrutiny. The apex bank act 2007 gives powers to the CBN governor to determine his salary, allowances and that of the deputy governors without external inputs.
Also, the 2007 CBN act allows the governor to take charge as the Board Chairman and at the same time be in charge of the Apex bank.
According to the 2007 CBN act, the CBN governor decides who acts as the governor in his absence. This, many commentators say violated the 1999 constitution as amended.
LEADERSHIP Friday gathered that the amendment bill 2015 which is seeking to repeal some sections of the CBN act 2007 is set for a second reading in the House of Representatives despite silent interest.
While the management of the CBN wants the status quo maintained, some Nigerians want the National Assembly to exercise its full powers by subjecting the apex bank to scrutiny.
Specifically, act no. 7 of the bill is seeking for appointment of a person other than the CBN governor as the chairman of the board, divest the board of the powers of determining and fixing its own salaries and allowances, divest the board of the powers of considering and approving the annual budget of the bank; and for related matters.
The House of Representatives is seeking for arrangement of clauses such as: Amendment of Act No. 7 of 2007, amendment of Section 6 of the Act; amendment of Section 7 of the Act; amendment of Section 8 of the Act; repeal of Section 51 of the Act and the introduction of a new section 48 and renumbering of the existing sections 48-61 as new section 49-62 including the citation.
According to the bill obtained by LEADERSHIP Friday, the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, No. 7 of 2007 (in this Bill referred to as “the Principal Act”) is amended as set in this Bill.”
“(1)Section 6, subsection (2) of the principal act is amended by replacing the section with the following new section: Section 6(2) “The Board shall consist of – (a) a chairman who shall be a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) or a former chairman of a bank or a former managing director of a bank or any person with cognate experience.”
“ (b) the governor; (c) the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Finance; (d) the Accountant-General of the Federation; (e) the permanent secretary, National Planning Commission; (f) a representative of the Federal Inland Revenue Service not below the rank of a director; and (g) a representative of Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation not below the rank of a director.”
“(2) Section 6, subsection (3) of the principal act is amended by deleting paragraph (a). 3. Section 7(1) of the principal act is amended by replacing the section with the following new section:
Section 7(1) “the governor or in his absence, the most senior deputy governor shall be in charge of the day-to-day management of the bank and shall be answerable to the board for his acts and decisions”. Section 8(3) of the principal act is amended by replacing the section with the following new section: Section 8(3) “the salaries, fees, wages or other remuneration or allowances including pension and other allowances payable to the governor and to the deputy governors shall be as stipulated, from time to time, by the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, subject to the approval of the president”. Section 51 of the principal act is amended by deleting it completely because it contradicts the provision of Sections 43 – 50 of the principal act.”
“The Principal Act is amended by the introduction of a new section 48 as follows: the board shall prepare and submit to the National Assembly through the president not later than 30th September of each year, an estimate of its expenditure and income during the next succeeding year”. This Bill may be cited as the Central Bank of Nigeria Act (Amendment) Bill, 2015.”
LEADERSHIP Friday gathered that some Nigerians have raised an alarm as to why the activities of the CBN can’t be subjected to public scrutiny.
“There won’t be transparency if the CBN governor reviewed his salaries and allowances and that of the deputies without the consent of appropriate authorities. Why should the CBN governor and the deputies have their separate accountants? With these, we are in full support of this bill because the CBN must be subjected to transparency,” a former CBN deputy governor said.
“If we are to go by the constitution, CBN cannot make budget for itself and spend what they want. The constitution demands that all budget provisions must be subjected to the National Assembly but CBN is violating the constitutional provision especially Section 80 subsection 3, 4,” a member of the House of Representatives said.
Some of the key issues in the Bill, it was gathered, is that it seeks to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007 Act, No. 7 to appoint a person other than the governor as the chairman of the board.
The Bill also seeks to divest the board of the powers of determining and fixing its own salaries and allowances; divest the board of the powers of considering and approving the annual budget of the bank.
The Bill also seeks to delete Section 51 of the principal act as it contradicts the provision of Sections 43 – 50, and for other related matters.
When contacted, the sponsor of the bill, Hon. Jagaba Adams Jagaba, confirmed to LEADERSHIP Friday that it would soon be called for a second reading after which it would be sent to a committee for public hearing.
The CBN spokesman, Mr Isaac Okorafor, when contacted, said the bill has been lingering for some time.
Okorafor said CBN will be glad to present its position whenever they are called to do so.
“Just as it is the practise everywhere, the CBN would be willing to present its position on the matter whenever the public hearing is called,” Isaac said.