• Wednesday, February 21, 2024
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BusinessDay

Hands off the CBN: Respect internal staff movement

CBN will not pay invalid FX backlog – Cardoso

Unnecessary political meddling in the internal affairs of the Central Bank of Nigeria has persisted for far too long, undermining the institution’s ability to function effectively. It’s time to put an end to this disruptive interference.

Recently, a group of fifty-eight senators, led by Senator Suleiman Kawu of Kano State, opposed the Central Bank’s plan to relocate a crucial department to Lagos from its headquarters in Abuja. Senator Ali Ndume of Borno South even went as far as threatening “political consequences” against President Bola Ahmed Tinubu if the Federal Government proceeded with the plans.

Read also: CBN, FAAN’s relocation to Lagos still breeds rancour

Late last year, the Central Bank internally proposed a plan to decongest its headquarters and enhance operational efficiency. This move was not only aimed at aligning the bank’s structure with its functions but also at complying with building regulations and optimising office space. The decision was based on sound economic reasoning, with the new office in Lagos being underutilised and strategically positioned closer to key stakeholders.

Former Central Bank governor Sanusi Lamido Sanusi rightfully pointed out that such internal reorganisations are sensible and necessary for the institution’s smooth operation. His recommendation to decentralise certain functions to Lagos aligns with operational pragmatism and efficiency.

The current uproar raises broader questions about the balance between economic rationality and political considerations, as well as the rightful place of the federal capital territory. However, it’s crucial not to let these debates distract from the pressing issues facing the nation, including inflation, food insecurity, and widespread insecurity.

Instead of exacerbating divisions, government officials should focus on addressing these urgent challenges. The location of government departments should not be a pretext for political manoeuvring, particularly when it detracts from crucial national priorities.

Abuja was conceived as a neutral zone, free from regional affiliations, and it should remain so. The Central Bank has a mandate to address numerous pressing issues, and it’s imperative that all parties refrain from politicising its internal affairs.

In conclusion, let’s allow the Central Bank to concentrate on its core functions without unnecessary interference. It’s time to prioritise national unity and the effective functioning of vital institutions over political posturing and division.

Now, let’s delve deeper into the complexities surrounding this issue.

At the heart of the matter lies a clash between political interests and institutional efficiency. The senators opposing the Central Bank’s relocation plan are understandably concerned about the potential ramifications for their constituencies. However, it’s essential to recognize that decisions regarding internal staff movements should be guided by operational imperatives rather than political expediency.

The Central Bank’s decision to relocate certain departments to Lagos is not arbitrary but rooted in a strategic assessment of operational needs. As Sanusi Lamido Sanusi aptly noted, consolidating certain functions in Lagos makes strategic sense, considering the concentration of key stakeholders in the financial sector in the region.

Moreover, the concerns raised by the Northern Senators Forum about the alleged marginalisation of the North overlook the broader benefits of decentralising operations. By dispersing functions across different locations, the Central Bank can enhance its responsiveness to regional dynamics and better serve the diverse needs of the Nigerian economy.

However, it’s essential to address the underlying grievances of those opposed to the relocation plan. Rather than dismissing their concerns outright, stakeholders should engage in constructive dialogue to find mutually acceptable solutions. This approach requires a willingness to listen and a commitment to transparency and accountability.

Furthermore, the politicisation of internal staff movements at the Central Bank sets a dangerous precedent that undermines the autonomy and credibility of the institution. By succumbing to political pressure, decision-makers risk compromising the integrity of the Central Bank’s operations and eroding public trust in its ability to act independently.

In light of these considerations, it’s incumbent upon all stakeholders to uphold the principles of good governance and institutional integrity. This entails respecting the Central Bank’s authority to make internal decisions based on merit and operational necessity. At the same time, it requires fostering an environment of collaboration and mutual respect, where divergent viewpoints are acknowledged and addressed through inclusive dialogue.

Ultimately, the Central Bank’s mandate is to safeguard the stability of the Nigerian financial system and promote economic growth and development. To fulfil this mandate effectively, it must be allowed to operate free from undue political interference. By recognizing the importance of institutional autonomy and upholding the principles of good governance, we can ensure that the Central Bank remains a trusted guardian of Nigeria’s economic prosperity.