The Senate this Tuesday reversed its decision to put on hold confirmation of Presidential nominees, as it finally agreed to screen and confirm the appointment of two deputy governorship nominees for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as well as nominated members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the apex bank.
The upper legislative chamber therefore mandated its Committee on Banking, Insurance & Other Financial Institutions chaired by Senator Rafiu Ibrahim (APC Kwara South) to proceed with the process in the interest of economic development of the country.
It would be recalled that the confirmation of President Muhammadu Buhari’s appointment of two CBN deputy governors, Aisha Ahmad and Edward Adamu, and other persons into its MPC was withheld because of the existing impasse between the executive and the legislative arms of government.
But Senator Ibrahim who raised the issue under Point of Order 42 and 52 on matters of urgent national importance of the Senate Standing Rule, appealed to his colleagues to give exception to the confirmation of nominees into the committee since it has to do with economy.
He explained that the action became necessary so as to save the nation’s monetary system and the economy at large from major setback as the next meeting of the MPC holds on March 19 and 20, 2018.
“I rise on the issue pertaining to a very significant aspect of the country’s economy. I know from inception of the 8th Senate that the 8th Senate is pro-economy, pro-foreign direct investment, pro-foreign controlling investment.
“We are all aware that in January, because of the resolution of this Senate, that all confirmation according to all Acts of the National Assembly pending with us should be suspended forthwith.
“I rise to ask that the Senate do consider the possibility of us taking the very important aspect of the economy which is the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).
“The MPC is made up of 12 members; about seven from the private sector and five inside the Central Bank.
“As of today, only three of them are valid. Almost all other members, their tenure expired by December last year and that culminated into the MPC meeting not being held inJanuary 22nd and 23rd and the next meeting is March 19 and 20”, he stressed.
Senator Ibrahim said the MPC was a creation of the CBN Act and was autonomous, adding that the committee was not run by the board of the apex bank but that each meeting of the committee which was held after every two months bothered 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.
Contributing, Deputy Senate Leader, Senator Bala Ibn Na’Allah said the Senate had a commitment to cooperate fully with the Federal Government on everything that related to the economy and good governance of the country.
Similarly, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu said it was important that the upper legislative chamber reconsider its stand in respect of confirmation of Presidential nominees, pleading “we should make this exception so that our economy does not collapse”.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, said the Upper House would always give priority to the nation’s economy and urged Senator Ibrahim led committee to ensure a speedy completion of the confirmation proce