Former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Professor Kingsley Moghalu, has panned President Muhammadu Buhari over his directive to the apex bank to stop foreign exchange for food importation.
Moghalu warned that political interference in economic policies of the CBN constitute a major cause of poverty and weak institutions, insisting the directive of President Buhari to the apex bank is totally against the independence of the CBN.
President Buhari had directed the CBN to stop giving any money to anybody for food importation into the country, adding that by so doing, there would be steady improvement in agricultural production and attainment of full food security.
However, the former Deputy Governor of the CBN, in a series of tweets on Tuesday, asked if the Central Bank of Nigeria is now a ministry under the presidency to be so directed by President Buhari.
Moghalu noted that Article 1(3) of the CBN Act 2007 states among others that; “In order to facilitate the achievement of its mandate under this Act… the Bank shall be an independent body in the discharge of its functions.
“The issue here isn’t whether or not CBN should allow access to forex for food imports. It is about whether such an economic policy of a central bank should be imposed by a political authority.
“A major reason for our poverty, instability and weak economy is weak institutions. Our marketplace should be regulated and guided in a rational manner that creates a level playing field. Our economy will not be saved by Ad Hoc political decisions like this, handed down to the very institutions that should be shielded from the whim and caprice of politicians.
“Nigeria’s entire economy appears to have been sub-contracted to our central bank, including industrial and trade policy. In the process the economy has fared poorly and the Bank has lost its independence. This is sad!” Moghalu noted.
He therefore charged President Buhari to leave the apex bank alone to discharge its mandate independently within the ambit of the CBN Act, and stop directing it.
Moghalu also urged the CBN on its part to assert its independence assuming it actually believes it should be independent, stressing that the CBN Act states so clearly.