Without any dissenting voice, the Senate yesterday confirmed the appointment of Mr. Godwin Emefiele as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor for another term of five years.
Emefiele’s clearance for the apex bank’s top job came eight days after President Muhammadu Buhari wrote to the Senate on May 8, 2019 requesting it to confirm him for a second term of five years as his tenure expires in June.
The chairman, Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, who headed the screening was overwhelmed with the complimentary remarks of the senators on Emefiele when he appeared before the panel on Wednesday.
Acting on the committee’s report yesterday, the Upper House unanimously cleared the CBN chief for a second term in office.
The committee recommended Emefiele for the job on the ground that he has over 32 years’ experience in the banking sector and also understands the dynamic nature of Nigeria.
Consequently, the lawmakers told the Green Chamber that “Emefiele is qualified” for the job.
Senator Chukwuka Utazi (Enugu PDP) who seconded Senator Ibrahim’s motion said that the report was well “researched” and urged the Senate to confirm Emefiele.
After the voting, the ‘ayes’ had it and the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, congratulated Emefiele on his nomination by President Buhari and confirmation by the lawmakers.
Saraki charged Emefiele to improve on the successes that led to the renewal of reappointment.
During his screening, Emefiele had thanked the senators for their kind words, saying that “we still have a lot to do in Nigeria. On the side of the monetary policy, we will push to see we move the country forward.
“The road ahead is rough and tough. I appeal to Nigerians to respect the policies and laws of the country,” Emefiele said.
“We have policies that are sound but implementation remains zero. How do we respect the later and the intents of these policies in growing our business? The CBN will bring to book people and companies violating the policies of the federal government,” he said.
On the issue of multiple exchange rates, the CBN governor said there was nothing like that in the system.
According to him, “there is nothing like that. When you talk about multiple exchange rates, you are talking about divergence. But the exchange rate is N360 to a dollar.
“We have multiple windows and we don’t have apology for that because the Nigerian banks have a responsibility to sell to their customers for businesses and for travel purposes. We allocate specific sums of money to banks for small-scale businesses and those who want to travel abroad. There are multiple windows, but no multiple exchange rates.
“As the president said, we should begin to produce what we eat. Our special programmes won’t stop on rice farming alone but we have moved into palm oil production because in the 1960s we exported palm oil. The price of a barrel of palm oil is higher than that of crude oil now. We will grow that market again and move into cocoa. The small and medium enterprises are going to receive a boost to end restiveness. In the shortest possible time, you will see smiles on the faces of our youths who are creative to create jobs and employment opportunities,” Emefiele said.
He said that in the first two years of his renewed mandate, cassava, rice, soya beans, palm tree farming would be prioritised in every nook and cranny of Nigeria.
The apex bank chief noted that with the projection of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that Nigeria would be the third largest country in the world with a population of 450 million people by 2050, the CBN needed to work harder to ensure that every rural community becomes a production centre.
While praising the Senate for giving Emefiele easy cruise, Senator Ibrahim said: “It is always difficult to get an endorsement from senators across the different regions of the country overwhelmingly. We will revert to plenary. You may take a bow and go,” Ibrahim had told the CBN governor on Wednesday
Among the lawmakers, who handled the exercise were Senators Fatima Raji-Rasaki, Philip Aduda, Stella Odua, Philip Gyunka, Rafiu Ibrahim Adebayo, Hope Uzodima, Samuel Anyanwu, Danjuma Goje, Peter Nwabushi, Shehu Sani, and John Enoh.
The event assumed a dramatic turn when the senators present virtually became “prayer warriors” as they prayed fervently for the CBN governor to succeed during his second term.
…Affirms June 12 Democracy Day, Passes Public Holidays Bill, 5 Others
Meanwhile, the Senate has passed the Public Holiday Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019 (HBs 918 and 1529) which when signed into law by President Buhari, June 12 would be observed as the nation’s Democracy Aay.
At present, Nigeria’s Democracy Day is celebrated on May 29 every year but with the passage of the Public Holiday Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019 which is a concurrence with the House of Representatives, the president who originated it will sign it into law.
Last year, Buhari had immortalised Chief MKO Abiola, the presumed winner of the annulled presidential election held on June 12, 1993.
The minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, had said that president-elect, Buhari will take his second term oath of office on May 29, 2019 under a low key, adding that the celebration will take place on June 12, 2019.
The other five bills that the Senate concurred with the House of Representatives yesterday are the Federal Capital Territory Area Councils Service Commission (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 (HB 975), Nigerian Natural Medicine Development Agency (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 (HB 1363), Project Development Agency (PRODA) (Est, etc) Bill, 2019 (HB 1542), Good Samaritan’s Bill, 2019 (HB 171) and Data Protection Bill
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