Godwin Emefiele, Governor of Nigeria's central bank; Leo Ogor, Minority Leader in the House of Representatives, MP of the main opposition People's Democratic Party (PDP); Mojeed Alabi, MP of the governing All Progressives Congress (APC).
What, Where & When
In a House of Representatives session illustrative of Nigeria's current fraught economic environment, MPs yesterday (5 Oct) debated the tenure of central bank governor Godwin Emefiele. Opinion was divided and the legislators cannot themselves dismiss Emefiele. However, they are in a position to apply pressure on policy makers.
The governor has faced growing criticism this year for the central bank's monetary and forex policies.
- The central bank floated the naira in June after 16 months of pegging to defend the currency, but this failed to improve the forex liquidity in the country and the naira has continued to fall especially on the parallel market.
- When the peg was removed in June, the naira was NGN197 per dollar on the interbank market. By the start of October, it was NGN315 per dollar and nearly NGN500 per dollar on the parallel market.
During the session, PDP MP for Balanga/Billiri Ali Isa
questioned the central bank's policies and was backed by APC MP
Mojeed Alabi, who claimed Emefiele had been invited a number of
times to defend the bank's leadership but ignored the summons.
Alabi said, "Over the falling of the naira, the CBN governor
and his team should be sacked." House Minority Leader Leo Ogor
tried to persuade his colleagues to be patient with the central
bank in the interest of peace and stability.
No consensus was reached on the issue in the end, but Speaker Dogara directed a committee to be set up to investigate the forex crisis.
Nigerian law1 says the president can sack the central bank governor provided the removal is backed by a two-third vote of the Senate. As such, the House of Representatives, the lower chamber, lacks the power to directly influence Emefiele's removal.
President Buhari has shown no sign he's lost faith in Emefiele. We also believe the Buhari government appreciates the instability it would cause to the investment climate if the central bank governor is dismissed at this time.
Barring any extreme development, Emefiele will probably serve out his tenure, which ends in February 2019.
1 Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007
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