Olayemi Cardoso, recently nominated by President Bola Tinubu to become the country’s next central bank governor, took office on Friday pending his official confirmation by the Senate, the central bank said. This has raised question on why he resumed office before Senate screening and confirmation. Financial gurus are insisting that this is undermining the constitutional authority of the Senate. They also observed that the nomination came at a time when the suspended Governor’s tenure had not elapsed before the federal government said Emefiele had resigned. Statement issued by Central Bank of Nigeria Corporate Communication titled “Dr. Olayemi Cardoso Assumes Duty As Acting CBN Governor” said “Dr. Olayemi Michael Cardoso, recently nominated by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has on Friday, September 22, 2023, formally assumed duty, in an acting capacity, as the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), pending his confirmation by the Senate. This follows the resignation of Mr. Godwin Emefiele as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Similarly, the Deputy-Governors-Designate have also assumed duty, in acting capacities, sequel to the formal resignation of Mr. Folashodun Shonubi, Mrs. Aishah Ahmad, Mr. Edward Lametek Adamu, and Dr. Kingsley Obiora as Deputy Governors of the CBN.
“Dr. Cardoso and his colleagues subscribed to the relevant oaths of office at a brief ceremony held at the Bank’s Head Office in Abuja, on Friday, September 2023, and have since settled down to the task of administering monetary and financial sector policies of the Federal Government. An Economic and Development Policy Advisor, Financial Sector Leader, former Chairman Citi Nigeria and Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget in Lagos, Cardoso brings over three decades of managerial experience on board. He is an alumnus of Aston University, Birmingham, United Kingdom, where he studied managerial and administrative studies. He also holds a Master’s degree in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, United States of America. It will be recalled that Dr. Cardoso and his colleagues were appointed to their respective positions at the Bank on September 15, 2023, subject to their confirmation by the Senate. September 22, 2023” Cardoso takes office following the said resignation of Godwin Emefiele, who was suspended as central bank chief by Tinubu in June and later detained by police and charged with procurement fraud. Four new designated deputy governors also began work on Friday in an acting capacity after the resignation of Emefiele’s deputies, including Folashodun Shonubi, who acted as governor after Emefiele’s suspension, the central bank said in a statement.
The presidency said last week that Tinubu had sent Cardoso’s nomination to the Senate for confirmation alongside those of his four new deputy governors. At his inauguration in May, Tinubu had criticised the central bank’s policies under Emefiele, saying they needed a “thorough house-cleaning”. Cardoso and his deputies “have since settled down to the task of administering monetary and financial sector policies” after a brief ceremony, central bank spokesperson Isa Abdulmumin said in a statement. The Senate, reconvenes next Tuesday after a recess but it was not immediately clear when it would confirm the nominations. Nigeria’s central bank on Thursday postponed the bi-monthly Monetary Policy Committee Meeting, an interest rate meeting scheduled for next week, saying it would reschedule a new meeting later, without providing further details. The reason is not unconnected with the assumption of office of the new helms at the affairs of the apex bank.
In July, the central bank opted for a smaller-than expected rate hike of 25 basis points at its first monetary policy meeting since Emefiele’s suspension. Emefiele had used a much-criticised system of multiple exchange rates to bolster the Naira currency and lent directly to businesses to try to boost growth in the economy. Cardoso, a former head of Citibank in Nigeria, will need to boost dollar liquidity in the official market to stabilise the Naira after it fell to a record 980 on the black market this week, nearing the psychologically sensitive level of N1,000 per dollar. Declining dollar supply from the central bank has helped accelerate the slide of the Naira on the black market, as unmet demand for imports and speculative activities by individuals who turn to the dollar as a store of value pile pressure on the currency, one trader said.