Twice the senate rejected the nomination of Ibrahim Magu as the chairman of the Economic and FInancial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Yet President Muhammadu Buhari insisted that it is either Magu or no one else.
As a result the senate decided to shun presidential nominees for certain positions – the most prominent so far has been that of members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
In January, the first MPC meeting could not go on as scheduled because the current members are insufficient to form a quorum. There were real fears that if MPC members are not confirmed before the next meeting, it could have damaging consequences for the nation’s economy.
Senate shifts ground
On Tuesday, the senate expressed readiness to screen Buhari’s nominees for the MPC.
The resolution of the senate followed a motion sponsored by Rafiu Ibrahim, senator representing Kwara south.
What Ibrahim said:
“I rise on the issue pertaining to a very significant aspect of the country’s economy, knowing that the 8th senate is pro-economy, pro-foreign direct investment, pro-foreign controlling investment.
“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. 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 in December last year and culminated in the MPC meeting not being held in January (22nd and 23rd) and the next meeting is March 19 &20.
“I want to appeal to our colleagues, we have three requests regarding the board of the central bank – two deputy governors who are also members of MPC and MPC members who are majorly in the private sector.
“MPC is a creation of the CBN Act which is autonomous. It is not run by the board of central bank but each meeting is very important to the economy. As it is today, It’s already affecting the foreign direct investment in Nigeria. Some foreign portfolio investments are already leaving, some that are supposed to come, are not coming.”
Senate Pres. Saraki agreed with Ibrahim. He said, “I commend my colleagues for the statesmanship roles that they continue to play. This is a chamber that has always been for the issue of the economy.”
“For all it takes, we will continue to ensure that we see the best in the ease of doing business and promoting confidence.
“Inasmuch as we continue to defend the institution and the constitution, it is time that we look at the priorities and understand what is important.
“Therefore, the senate committee chairman on banking, please ensure that you complete that process so that we can give the necessary support in this issue of the MPC and the deputy governors of central bank.”
Thereafter, Saraki directed the committee on banking and finance to start screening the two deputy governor nominee