Nigeria’s central bank had become a ‘den of malfeasance’ that needed a ‘thorough housecleaning,’ President Bola Tinubu said Sunday.
Mr Tinubu, in a broadcast to mark the country’s 63rd Independence Anniversary, said he has started the housecleaning and has appointed a new leadership for the bank.
“I pledged a thorough housecleaning of the den of malfeasance the CBN had become. That housecleaning is well underway. A new leadership for the Central Bank has been constituted,” he said. “Also, my special investigator will soon present his findings on past lapses and how to prevent similar reoccurrences. Henceforth, monetary policy shall be for the benefit of all and not the exclusive province of the powerful and wealthy.”
PREMIUM TIMES reported that Mr Tinubu recently appointed Yemi Cardoso as the new CBN governor after the controversial exit of Godwin Emefiele.
Mr Cardoso’s appointment has since been confirmed by the Senate.
The CBN under Mr Emefiele implemented controversial policies such as multiple exchange rates that allowed for round-tripping amid rising inflation.
The ousted CBN governor’s monetary policies also exposed the country’s economy to other vulnerabilities, plunging millions of Nigerians into extreme poverty and hunger.
One of the unpopular policies implemented by CBN on Mr Emefiele’s watch was the controversial naira redesign policy initiated by the past administration.
The CBN announced the redesign of N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes upon request from the federal government, Mr Emefiele said at the time.
He disclosed that the new notes would begin circulation on 15 December 2022, while the old banknotes would remain legal tender and circulate together until 31 January 2023. The old notes ceased to be legal tender on 31 January.
Upon implementation, the new notes were very scarce, disrupting business activities across Nigeria.
As the impact of the CBN policy and its attendant chaos continued to frustrate efforts by many Nigerians operating in the nation’s cash-dependent informal economy, the Supreme Court, in March, extended the validity of the N200, N500, and N1,000 Naira notes till 31 December. The CBN initially ignored the Supreme Court ruling until public pressure forced it to comply.
PREMIUM TIMES also reported how the CBN under Mr Emefirele illegally loaned the federal government over N22 trillion naira as Ways and Means, money that is believed to have contributed to inflation in the country. The Buhari administration only moved to get the required National Assembly approval for such loan days before the end of the government’s tenure.
In the past decade, the number of people living in extreme poverty in Nigeria has increased.
Between 2016 and 2022, the population of Nigerian men living in extreme poverty rose from 35.3 million in 2016 to 44.7 million last year just as that of women increased from 34.7 million in 2016 to 43.7 million last year, according to data published by Statista.
In 2022, an estimated 88.4 million people in Nigeria lived in extreme poverty. While the number of men living on less than $1.90 per day in the country reached around 44.7 million, the count was at 43.7 million for women.
Yemi Cardoso, the new central bank chief, has promised to run an evidence-based monetary system, sanitise the system and enforce discipline.
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