Experts on monetary policy and financial matters in the economy on Friday commented on Wednesday’s appointment of a deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN and four members of the monetary policy committee, MPC, with some describing them as “round pegs in round holes.”
Other commentators described the news appointees as “fit for purpose,” while a few others said they were “unknown and inexperienced political appointees.”
President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday appointed Aishah Ahmad, a 40-year-old investment banker, to replace the former deputy governor in charge of Economic Policy, Sarah Alade, who retired from CBN in March 2017.
Until her appointment, Mrs. Ahmad, a holder of the Master of Science, MSc degree in Finance & Management from the Cranfield School of Management, United Kingdom (2006-2007) and a Master of Business Administration, MBA in Finance, University of Lagos (1999-2001), was the executive director (Retail Banking) at Diamond Bank Plc.
She is the chairperson, executive council of Women in Management, Business and Public Service, WIMBIZ, a Nigerian non-profit organization, focused on issues affecting the interest of women professionals in business, particularly those promoting leadership development and capacity building to engender growth.
Four others were announced by the president as new appointees to make up the number of members of the MPC stipulated in the CBN Act. The new MPC appointees include Adeola Adenikinju, Robert Asogwa, Asheikh Maidugu, and Aliyu Sanusi.
Mr. Adenikinju, a professor of Economics from the University of Ibadan, is a Research Professor at the Centre for Econometrics Petroleum, Energy Economics and Allied Research; Senior Research Fellow, Macroeconomic Study Group, University of Ibadan. He is also a consultant for the European Union, United Nations, Nigeria LNG, African Economic Research Consortium, OECD, UNIDO, ECOWAS, UNECA, the World Bank, and the National Data Bank, among others. He served as a Visiting Scholar to the International Monetary Fund, IMF in 1996 and 2005.
He is a Life Member, and former Business Manager, Nigerian Economic Society; Member, African Economic Research Consortium; Member, Association of Third World Studies, Philadelphia, Vice President, Nigerian Association for Energy Economics, 2006-2010; President, Nigerian Association for Energy Economics, 2011 -2015, and Member, the International Association for Energy Economics.
Mr. Asogwa, a development economist expert, was until his appointment the Team Leader of Inclusive Growth Unit at the UN Development Programme, UNDP. A Micro-economist\policy analyst and research project expert, he holds a PhD in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, with proficiency in Financial, Development and Monetary Economics.
Mr. Maidugu, currently a Director, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, since 2010, and former Chief Operations Officer, Debt Management Office, DMO, 2007-2010, was a Senior Lecturer in the Economics department, University of Maiduguri (1994-2007), where he was also educated.
A holder of a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics (1987-1991), and a Masters (MA) degree in Money, Trade & Finance (1994-1997), he is believed to have a passion for teaching, strategic planning, business strategy, trade, Industry and management, analysis, policy, public policy.
Mr, Sanusi, associate professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Ahmadu Bello University, ABU, Zaria, has been a director, International Centre of Excellence, Rural Finance & Entrepreneurship (ICERFE), Lancaster University, since May 2016. He was the deputy director (Entrepreneurship) the previous year.
Apart from being the Special Assistant to the Chief Economic Adviser to the President, 2013-2015, Mr. Sanusi, who holds a Master of Science, MSC, International Business, Lancaster University, 2003-2004, and Master degree, MSc, Economics, was a lecturer at ABU, Zaria, 2000-2013, with special skills in International Economics, Monetary Economics, Econometrics and International Trade.
Regardless of these qualifications, Lead Economist and Financial and Investment Consultant, SPM Professionals, Paul Alaje, said apart two of the appointees, who have been in the academia and did some appreciable work on the economy, others appeared unpopular, suggesting their appointments were based perhaps on political considerations.
“Putting people in CBN should not be because they worked in banks before. The important thing should be for the people to understand monetary policy. Some of the appointments appear to be based on politics. Apart not being popular, they seem not to have done sufficient work that one can lay one’s hands on,” Mr. Alaje said.
Chief Executive, Global Analytics Consulting Limited, Tope Fasua, who said he knew none of the appointees, pointed out that it is always like ”such appointments must be a bunch of professors, who mostly are theoreticians.”
However, a monetary policy analyst and an Associate Professor of Economics, Department of Banking and Finance, Nasarawa State University, Keffi, Uche Uwaleke, told PREMIUM TIMES that all the appointees, including the new deputy governor, were not only “round pegs in round holes”, they were also “fit for purpose” appointees with strong pedigree.
“MPC requires economics and finance experts. These people are fit for purpose, as they come from different rich backgrounds and areas of specialization. There is a person with a debt management policy experience, who will readily understand the implications of monetary policy on the debt market and economy. There is another person with UNDP background, who has knowledge on poverty alleviation issues and how monetary policy affects (economic) policy and development.
“The deputy governor has a background that shows she’s a round peg in a round hole. She should be able to make useful contributions in her area of specialization, which is banking supervision, although she may not be good at monetary policy, given her background in private banking. But, the economy is wide. Central Bank is not only for monetary policy, but also for financial systems stability, which is her area, having worked with a number local and international banks, as investment banker” Mr. Uwaleke said.
The university don, who urged the National Assembly to do their job by really ”questioning the appointees when they appear before them for screening,” said what Nigerians want to see are people well exposed to the present economic challenges and have been making contributions that impact on all sectors of the economy.
“We want to see people appointed beyond political considerations, like federal character, but people who understand the issues affecting the economy and have the capacity to deliver the answers,” he said.
The MPC is supposed to have 12 members in line with the provisions of the CBN Act. However, for some time, the committee has been meeting with eight members, excluding the governor, who is the Chairman. The CBN Act says the Committee should consist of four deputy governors, two executive directors, two other directors appointed by the CBN governor and three appointees by the president.
The four new MPC appointees, who will not assume office till January 2018, will replace those members whose tenures would lapse by December 2017. Only the deputy governor, Mrs. Ahmad, is expected to assume office immediately after Senate confirmation.