The Senate on Wednesday confirmed the nomination of Mr Godwin Emefiele as the new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Emefiele is to take over from Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi in June at the expiration of his tenure.
The senate also confirmed Justice Zainab Bulkachuwa as the President of the Court of Appeal.
The two nominees were confirmed after they successfully fielded questions from the senators in a Committee of the Whole.
Emefiele promised to use the “Development Banking Model” to drive economic growth and development in the real sectors of the economy to the benefit of all Nigerians.
“We would ensure that whatever decisions we take at the CBN in the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) would be those that would lead to improvement in the level of employment in Nigeria.
“I would not spend any money in contravention of the law.
“We would ensure that we work with the manufacturing companies to ensure that we improve on their level of production and ensure that we improve and achieve economic growth in Nigeria.
“The Development Banking Model is a model that has been tried and tested in different jurisdictions in the world.
“In fact in some of the frontiers and emerging markets in the world, we have seen development banking used as a tool towards achieving economic growth, development and industrialisation,” he said.
He said under his tenure, the CBN would foster a harmonious working relationship with the Ministry of Finance to ensure unity of purpose in the policy implementation.
“It is important that both the Ministry of Finance and the CBN move in one direction.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria is the monetary authority whereas the Ministry of Finance is the fiscal authority. It is important that in their relationship, they must work in one direction.
“So, we expect that there should be a collaborative relationship where they are both ready to work together for the common good of Nigerians,” he said.
The CBN Governor-designate further announced that he would take all necessary steps to stop the use of dollars as a legal tender for financial transactions within Nigeria.
“I will take it as a primary responsibility to ensure that the attempt to dollarise the Nigerian economy is discouraged.
“We should not allow it because it would create problem for the economy, ” Emefiele said.
Justice Bulkachuwa on her part, said the poor funding of the judiciary was a major problem undermining the productivity of judicial officers at various levels.
“This is a very serious issue with us. We are the biggest court in the country. We have 90 justices as at now. We have 16 divisions of the Court of Appeal. But our budget this year is only N10.1billion.
“That is why we cried out last year and we are still crying out. We need our budget to be looked into.
“We need to have our tools because our tools are our books, comfortable quarters and then comfortable houses.
“So, if his condition is perfect or if his condition is manageable, I am sure we will have increased productivity,” Bulkachuwa said.
The Senate President, David Mark, while congratulating the two appointees, urged them to deliver efficiently on the responsibilities of their new offices.
“These are two very key appointments and the amount of time we spent on it is a clear indication of the importance that we attach to these confirmations.
“Justice Bulkachuwa should deliver Justice on time and Emefiele should ensure that he does the prescribed responsibilities of the governor of the Central Bank without fear or favour,” Mark advised.
Meanwhile, the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency has screened the nominee for Deputy Governor of the CBN, Mr Adekola Adelabu.
Adelabu’s confirmation is subject to the approval of the Senate when the Sen. Bassey Otu (PDP-Cross River) led committee presents its report at plenary.
Emefiele carefully avoided answering questions on the suspension of Sanusi over missing $20 billion oil revenue because according to him, “it is in court and it will be subjudice for me to say anything.”
He opposed moves by the National Assembly to whittle down the powers of the CBN saying it would negatively affect the country’s economy. “It is your core mandate to amend laws but let’s take decisions that are in line with best practices or else it will affect the country. Study the issue in different parts of the world whether their central banks have autonomy or not.”
Emefiele who was the Managing Director of Zenith Bank Plc until his appointment also said his regime will work to stop what he called “dollarisation” of the Nigerian economy in which some organisations and institutions insist on making payments only in the United States dollars.
On the continuing accumulation of bad debts by the Assets Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON), Emefiele said the corporation “was a child of necessity” and that if the toxic assets of the banks were not detoxicated many banks would have been liquidated.”
The 53-year-old Delta-born banker also took time to reel out his vision for the Nigerian economy and planned programme of activities when he assumes duty in June.
He revealed that as a matter of priority the monetary policy decisions under his watch would be geared towards employment generation because according to him, “Nigeria is in employment emergency”.
“We will introduce the development banking model which has been tried and tested in different jurisdictions in the world which will lead to the industrialisation of the country,” he pledged.
At exactly 1:36pm the Senate President banged the gavel after a unanimous vote approving Emefiele’s appointment as CBN governor.