Why Buhari Reapppoints Emefiele As CBN Governor
President Muhammadu Buhari has reappointed Godwin Emefiele as the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and asked the Senate to confirm him.
By the reappointment, which came after wild speculations, he has become the first governor of the apex bank to get a two-term mandate since the return to civil rule in 1999. He was appointed in 2014 by former President Goodluck Jonathan.
In a letter read on the floor of the Senate yesterday by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Buhari noted that having completed his first term in office, Emefiele has been nominated for confirmation of the Senate for a second term. He urged the Senate to give expedited consideration to the confirmation of Emefiele’s nomination.
In line with the Senate’s standing rule, the president’s request would be referred in the next legislative day to the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions for legislative processing. The committee’s main task is to subject Emefiele’s credentials to serious scrutiny.
It will equally consider any petitions that it might have received against the nomination and if there is none, the nomination is approved by the committee and a report is accordingly submitted to the Senate for final approval and confirmation.
The extension of the CBN governor’s tenure is believed to be due to his giant strides in office, and may well be President Buhari’s first official admission, albeit tacitly, of inheriting something good from his predecessor, Jonathan.
In fact, Emefiele’s austere nature and ability to instill financial discipline in the banking sector, which significantly reduced rascality and frivolity in loan approvals, may have resonated with Buhari, whose body language cuts a similar posture.
The 57-year-old banker was the Group Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc prior to his appointment in 2014, with a huge task to stabilise an economy that went awry since 2015.
Since mid-2014, when he took over the reins of CBN, Nigeria has experienced stable economic monetary policies, even as it did not witness any crude oil windfall, which is the backbone of the economy, in terms of revenue supply.
Conversely, the oil price volatility impacted not only the country’s revenue base, but the inflow of foreign exchange (forex), stoking currency depreciation, system arbitrage and consequent policy measures, leading to calls for the devaluation of the naira.
The CBN governor’s ability to hold on to his belief in the economy and not allow the ship sink on his watch, may have also earned him the second term, which many of his peers say is well deserved.
Many may not have thought about the significance of Emefiele’s appointment or the fact that he is the 12th CBN governor.
Emefiele, through his monetary policies and even interventions in fiscal issues over the past five years, has insisted that the country still holds a high return on investment, with huge opportunities given its over 200-million-people market.
Therefore, with a cocktail of policy measures, the naira, which fell to N520/$1 in 2017 at the open market, is now stabilised around N360$1 in the past two years, and stayed through to the period of the general elections.
Specifically, Emefiele oversaw Nigeria’s widely acclaimed response to plummeting oil prices, a spiralling inflation, significant exchange rate pressures, sharp fall in forex inflows, delisting of Nigeria from the JP Morgan Bond Index, normalisation of U.S. monetary policy, geopolitical tensions amongst global superpowers, and overall uncertainty after the change of administration in 2015.
Indeed, the stability he brought into the system has been attributed to his innovative Investors and Exporters Window worth $25 billion, which liberalised official transactions of forex, as well as directive to banks to sell forex to customers over the counter for basic travel allowance (BTA) and medical and education bills.
Beyond forex stability, which saw massive accretion in Nigeria’s foreig