Nigeria’s Senate has confirmed Dr. Olayemi Cardoso as the new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), along with four deputy governors: Emem Usoro, Philip Ikeazor, Muhammad Abdullahi-Dattijo, and Bala Bello. The new CBN team has unveiled their vision and strategy to transform the country’s economy and achieve a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of $1 trillion by 2031.
During his screening and confirmation by the senators, Cardoso outlined the key pillars of his economic plan, which include:
- Stabilizing the exchange rate by ensuring a healthy balance of payment and diversifying the economy away from oil dependence.
- Implementing evidence-based monetary policy that is informed by accurate and timely data and addresses the root causes of inflation.
- Resolving the unsettled obligations of the CBN and reducing the fiscal deficit by removing oil subsidy, tightening up tax collection, and blocking leakages in the economy.
- Enhancing the infrastructure development and energy supply to support the growth of the productive sectors, especially agriculture and manufacturing.
- Promoting export of locally made goods and services and improving the business environment for investors and entrepreneurs.
- Strengthening corporate governance and compliance in the CBN and the banking sector to ensure transparency, accountability, and efficiency.
Cardoso also emphasized the need for a close collaboration with the fiscal policy regulators and other stakeholders to ensure coherence and alignment of policies. He assured the senators that he will uphold the rule of law and respect the CBN Act. He said he will not allow anyone to hijack or influence the CBN for personal or political interests.
He pledged to bring the best and most qualified advisers to his team and foster a culture of openness and innovation in the CBN. He said he will consult with the Senate and other relevant bodies for guidance and feedback.
Philip Ikeazu, one of the deputy governors, also spoke during the screening and confirmation. He said he will support Cardoso’s vision and work with him to drive economic policy and maintain price stability. He urged the Senate to back the CBN’s efforts to boost export of local goods and services and improve corporate governance.
The new CBN team has expressed confidence that their economic plan will deliver positive results for Nigeria and its people. They have asked for the support and cooperation of all Nigerians to achieve their ambitious goal of reaching a $1 trillion GDP by 2031.
The CBN team also affirmed that the regulatory body has “strayed significantly over the years”, and that it was committed to returning back on track, and ensuring open and transparent communication with Nigerians.
They assured restoring the dignity of the Central Bank, just as they expressed hope to double economic growth over a 10 year period, as well as expanding the capacity of the economy to produce more “Dangotes and Otedolas.”
During the exercise, the lawmakers bemoaned the woes bedeviling the country’s economy, as they expressed fears at the involvement of the regulatory bank in sectors outside the mandate of the Central Bank Act.
The Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, while addressing the Committee of the Whole, frowned at the involvement of the CBN in construction of classrooms, among others.
He emphasized the need for an apex bank that is focused on providing sound policy and monetary directions for the economy.
Akpabio also regretted that the bank under the former board lost its focus and veered into politics “with money that belongs to Nigerians.”
“No where in the world is a currency changed within one week. But the CBN changed the Naira in 11 days just to sabotage the elections, and because some politicians told him that you can contest for election after all you have money with you,” the Senate President added.
Cardoso’s plans have been met with mixed reactions from economists and analysts. Some have praised his ambition and vision, while others have expressed skepticism about his ability to achieve his goals. However, there is no doubt that Cardoso’s plans are bold and ambitious, and if successful, they could have a transformative impact on the Nigerian economy.