â€¢ Likely to be confirmed on Wednesday
Damilola Oyedele in Abuja
The Senate Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions, on Monday screened President Muhammadu Buhariâ€™s nominees for Deputy Governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mrs. Aisha Ahmad and Mr. Edward Adamu.
The committee also screened the nominees for the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the apex bank. They are Professor Adeola Festus Adenikinju, Dr. Aliyu Rafindadi Sanusi, Dr. Robert Chikwendu Asogwa and Dr. Asheikh A. Maidugu.
The confirmation for the nominees is likely to be adopted on Wednesday at plenary.
Ahmad, who appeared first before the lawmakers, fielded questions on financial topics such as the economy, foreign exchange, high interest rates and others.
â€œOne of the key challenges that we face is caused by our over reliance on oil and our sensitivity to changes in the price and the availability of oil. So the real action that we need to take is to diversify our economy and the sources of forex. It is a simple demand and supply situation. If you have a high demand and the supply is not there, there will be an issue with the pricing,â€ she said.
Ahmad also harped on the need for the development of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) which can be harnessed through easy access to funds among other initiatives of the CBN.
Adamu, who was not grilled by the lawmakers, was simply asked him to â€˜take a bowâ€™.
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, disclosed that he had received 59 text messages from mostly medium and junior cadre staff of the CBN, urging the committee to confirm Adamu.
â€œThis speaks a lot about you at your level,â€ he said.
Senator Samuel Anyanwu said the nomination of Adamu is something that the presidency has gotten right.
â€œFor the first time, the president has gotten it right by bringing an insider who has done well. You (Adamu) have done well and people like you should be encouraged,â€ the senator said.
A member of the committee, in an informal conversation with THISDAY, said the Senate is likely to confirm the nominees next Wednesday.
The screening followed last Tuesdayâ€™s resolution by the chamber to make a concession to consider and confirm the CBN nominees so as to ensure that the MPC forms the required quorum at its next meeting.
The nominees for deputy governors are being confirmed alongside others because they are members of the MPC.
The MPC was unable to hold its meeting last January because it could not form a quorum.
This arose from the July 2017 resolution of the Senate to suspend all confirmation processes for presidential nominees whose offices are not specifically listed in the 1999 Constitution.
The resolution was made after Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, by his remark, deepened the rift between the Senate and the executive arm of government over the rejection twice by the Senate of the nomination of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
Reacting to the rejection, Osinbajo had said since the EFCC was not specified in the constitution, there was no need to have sent the nomination to the Senate in the first instance.
The Senate thereafter resolved to suspend consideration of all such nominees, pending the legal determination of its power of confirmation.