By Dipo Olowookere
The Bill for an Act to Amend the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act, CAP C4 LFN, 2007 has passed second reading at the Senate.
The red chamber of the National Assembly deliberated on the bill on Wednesday at its plenary presided over by the Senate President, Mr Bukola Saraki.
The bill was sponsored by Senator Rose Oko and it is to ensure transparency and accountability in the operations of the apex bank.
According to Senator Oko, the bill to amend the CBN Act was also to subject the banking industry watchdog’s intervention advances to the approval of the National Assembly.
At the moment, the CBN does not have to seek approval of the lawmakers to carry out its functions.
But Senator Oko wants this to stop, stressing that there must be mechanism in place to oversee how the bank operates.
She pointed out the intervention funds released to the CBN over the years have been huge, but not accounted for by the apex bank.
According to her, the CBN spent N1.23 trillion as intervention funds in 2015, which she said was almost equal to the N1.8 trillion voted as capital expenditure for the 2016 budget.
Senator Oko also argued that some of the various recent intervention funds given out by CBN without the approval of the National Assembly were the N620 billion bailout for five banks, including Union Bank, Oceanic Bank, Afribank, FinBank and Intercontinental Bank.
She feared that if nothing was done clip the wings of the CBN, it could grow wild and start frustrating the progress of the economy at large, which it was set up to maintain and nurture to greatness.
After deliberations on the motion, the Senate President, Mr Bukola Saraki, referred it to the Committee on Banking, Insurance and other financial institutions and directed it to report back in 4 weeks.
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