Senate approves Emefiele as new CBN gov

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The Senate on Wednesday confirmed the appointment of a new central bank governor to replace Lamido Sanusi, who was suspended on government charges of “financial recklessness and misconduct”.

The upper house of parliament unanimously approved the appointment of Zenith Bank boss Godwin Emefiele, after his appearance before lawmakers that was broadcast live on television.

Senate president David Mark said it was a key appointment, adding: “Emefiele will ensure the prerequisite responsibilities of the central bank governor without fear or favour.”

President Goodluck Jonathan suspended Sanusi on February 20 just days after he had accused the state oil company of embezzling $20 billion (14.5 billion euros) of public funds.

Sanusi had been well-regarded among international economists and was credited with overhauling a crumbling and deeply corrupt banking sector and stabilising the currency.

He had been due to step down at the end of his five-year term in June and some saw his suspension as politically motivated for blowing the whistle on top-level graft.

One of his deputies, Sarah Alade, has been acting governor in the meantime. On Tuesday, she oversaw her first monthly monetary policy committee meeting.

She kept the key interest rate unchanged at 12 percent, holding true to a pledge on February 21 that the change at the top would not alter Sanusi’s plan for tight monetary policy.

Emefiele had almost no profile outside the banking sector until his name was put forward, surprising market watchers who said he was a low-profile, conservative figure who was unlikely to rock the boat.

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