Former deputy governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Kingsley Moghalu, has criticised President Muhammadu Buhari over his directive to the bank to halt foreign exchange for food importation.
The president had told the bank not to give a cent to anybody to import food into the country, saying by so doing, there would be steady improvement in agricultural production and attainment of full food security.
Reacting in series of tweets, Moghalu, who contested the 2019 presidential election under the platform of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), said the directive is against the independence of the CBN.
He said political interference in economic policies of the apex bank is the major cause of poverty and weak institutions.
“Is @cenbank now a ministry to be ‘directed’ by President @MBuhari? Article 1(3) of the CBN Act 2007 states ‘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,” he said.
“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 by 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!
“@NGRPresident should leave @cenbank alone to discharge its mandate independently within the ambit of the CBN Act, and stop ‘directing’ it. @cenbank should on its part assert its independence (assuming it actually believes it should be independent, but the Act says so, clearly!”