May 27, 2024

Proposed amendments to CBN Act‘ll weaken its autonomy – Coalition

CBN act


John Alechenu
ABUJA: The Conference of Civil Societies have cautioned the National Assembly against approving proposed amendments to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act.

The coalition warned that the proposals contained in the current amendment bill if approved, would strip the CBN of its autonomy.

Chairperson of the coalition, Adams Otakwu , said this at a press conference, in Abuja, on Monday.

He expressed the group’s concern about the Nigerian economy, monetary policy, and its impact on ordinary citizens ahead of the forthcoming 1st anniversary of the President Bola Tinubu- led administration.

Otakwu said, “Nigerians in the past one year have had great expectations concerning a major turn around in the economy. Particularly of interest is the rate of inflation, which has continued to rise.

“Only last week, the Central Bank of Nigeria increased its Monetary Policy Rate to 26.25% to check inflation, which now stands at 33.69%.

“While we, as civil society groups, continue to engage the CBN and the fiscal authorities to improve the fortunes of the economy, we are of the view that having an independent central bank in place will help to put inflation under check.

“This is why we would like to sound a note of caution ahead of the proposed amendment to the CBN Act by the National Assembly, which we consider ill-timed.

“Without prejudice to the proceedings of the public hearing at the National Assembly, which we shall be part of on Thursday, May 30, 2024, we, in a rare move, align with the position of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that many of the proposed amendments to the extant CBN Act will weaken the Bank as its autonomy will be severely threatened.

“Studies worldwide show a direct correlation between independent central banks and adequate checks on inflation.

“We, therefore, urge the NASS to resist the attempt to deliberately weaken the CBN. Attempting to take away the bank’s autonomy under any guise would be tantamount to throwing spanners into the effective management of the economy.

“In a few days, the current administration will be a year in office. We should focus on fixing the economy, not creating confusion by amending sections of the CBN Act that might weaken the institution. Now is not the time to push for an amendment to the CBN Act.

“Our advice is that an amendment to the CBN Act, if any, should wait and be well thought out. The present Act contains enough checks that the National Assembly can trigger, if it so wishes.”

Otakwu appealed to the media, “to continue to flag issues around exchange rate pressures, rising input prices and security that still challenge the economy in your reports, thereby putting pressure on the fiscal and monetary authorities to play their constitutional roles in managing the economy.”