Bill To Amend CBN Act Passes Second Reading At Senate

Bill To Amend CBN Act Passes Second Reading At Senate

A Bill for an Act to Amend the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act 2007, scaled through the second reading at the Senate on Wednesday.

The bill is intended to ensure transparency and accountability in the operations of the bank, according to its sponsor, Sen. Rose Oko (PDP-Cross River).

Leading the debate on the bill, Oko said there is no mechanism in place to monitor and track the deployment and use of CBN intervention funds over the years.

She said the apex bank contravenes relevant provisions of the Constitution and the Fiscal Responsibility Act through ‎extra-budgetary intervention to select bodies, institutions and agencies in the guise of intervention funds.

Oko stressed that lack of proper tracking of CBN intervention funds has made it difficult for lawmakers to properly oversee the bank.

“Many countries across the globe like Ghana, Liberia, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, United States of America, have windows for such interventions in their economy ‎like that of CBN programme.

“They, however, carry them out in line with relevant laws regulating them and through legislative approval,’’ she said.

She pointed to N620 billion bailout given to five defunct banks – Afribank, Intercontinental Bank, Union Bank, Oceanic Bank and Finbank – and donations to tertiary institution running into several billions as some of the interventions

She also brought up the N300 billion bailout from $2.1 billion NLNG taxes and dividends given to states to pay salaries, and N2.2 trillion earmarked to fund the economy‎ through schemes in various sectors.

Oko also listed Power and Aviation Intervention Fund (PAIF) of N300 billion, Micro, Small, Medium Development Fund (MSMEDF), N200 billion and Real sector support facility (RSSF), N300 billion.

“This bill aims at stemming the tide of financial recklessness and imprudence in spending of money by CBN under the guise of intervention funds,’’ she stated.

The bill was passed by members through a voice vote.

Thereafer, Senate President Bukola Saraki referred it to its Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions to handle and report back in six weeks. 

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