The Senate President, Senator Godswill Akpabio, on Tuesday, led the screening of Yemi Cardoso as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Olayemi Cardoso, and his four deputies, during which he posed a series of questions to them on “parallel governments” run by their predecessors.
Earlier, the senator representing Zamfara West, Abdul’aziz Yari, asked Cardoso whether the CBN is empowered by the law to make profits.
Akpabio, echoing Yari’s concern, said, “He’s trying to ask you that, based on the kind of interventions or actions of the previous governors of the Central Bank where they were running a parallel government from the Federal Government.”
The Senate President proceeded to ask the CBN governor-nominee if the CBN generated such funds and whether they were making profits.
According to him, the question was not just a concern of the Zamfara senator as “all the senators here would like to know”.
He asked, “If the CBN makes profits, does the profit belong to the governor of the Central Bank to use as he likes? Or does it belong to the Consolidated Revenue Account of the Federal Government of Nigeria?”
Akpabio expressed dismay over the apex bank’s direct involvement in agriculture, road construction, tourism, purchase of planes, cocoa, building university hostels and libraries, commissioning health centres, and the purchase of drugs.
The Senate President was curious to know “what kind of industries” the CBN was running with the monies it had been “spending in trillions over the years”.
“Are these monies not meant to be appropriated by this chamber and by the National Assembly? Are they supposed to make a profit and at the same time spend?” he continued.
“If they are making a profit, what industries are they running? What nature of business is the CBN engaged in? Does the profit belong to the CBN?”
‘Culture Of Compliance’
Responding to the questions, 66-year-old Cardoso promised that his administration would inculcate what he described as a culture of compliance by adhering strictly to the CBN Act 2007.
“I believe that the Central Bank under our watch will have no choice but to embrace a culture of compliance,” he said.
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Regarding some of his predecessors breaching legislation, the former Citibank Nigeria chairman assured the lawmakers that “you won’t have that during our administration,” adding that his team would not tolerate such behaviour.
“We will not wait for oversight to come and tell us what to do. We will ensure that by the time the system is passing through us, we catch it and we deal with it,” said Cardoso who promised zero tolerance for abuse of compliance.
“That is a cultural shift, a change in mindset, but we will make sure it happens,” he asserted.