• Monday, May 27, 2024
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CBN’s new chapter: The perfect blend of economists and bankers

Former banker endorses CBN Governor’s FX reforms amid naira volatility

For the past tumultuous decade, Nigeria’s economy has weathered concerns like spiraling inflation, a consistently weakened naira, tepid economic growth, and diminishing foreign exchange reserves, criticism of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been rife. Accusations pointed towards a prevailing hawkish commercial bank mindset, emphasizing short-term gains over sustainable growth.

With the introduction of Dr. Yemi Cardoso and his assembled team, the narrative promises to change. These nominations herald a vital shift in the CBN’s outlook, showcasing a harmonious blend of skilled bankers and distinguished economists. Such a mix suggests a reimagined strategy for the CBN, marrying financial prudence with holistic economic advancement.

Dr. Yemi Cardoso, at the forefront, is emblematic of this change. His dual experience as Chairman of Citibank Nigeria and Commissioner of Economic Planning and Budget for Lagos State fuses private sector financial acumen with public policy expertise. This confluence ensures that while financial prudence remains at the core, broader societal needs aren’t relegated. In Cardoso, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has identified an ideal candidate ready to tackle high inflation, exchange rate pressures, and the broader challenges facing Nigeria today. His decades of experience in banking, including serving as Chairman of Citibank Nigeria during a period of unprecedented growth, provide deep insight into monetary policy tools and impacts.

Read also: Nigeria financial market seen stabilising as Cardoso assumes duty at CBN

Equally important is Cardoso’s track record of improving lives through public service. As Commissioner of Economic Planning and Budget for Lagos State, he spearheaded initiatives that drove investment and job creation. And as Chairman of the Lagos Economic Summit, he brought stakeholders together to unlock the state’s immense potential.

This rare combination makes Cardoso well prepared to deliver on the Central Bank’s mandates. His banking background ensures he can nimbly manage interest rates and liquidity to stabilize prices. His success devising economic strategies means he understands how to boost production and exports to strengthen Nigeria’s currency.

Supporting Dr Cardoso is Muhammad Sani Abdullahi Dattijo, an accomplished development economist. With advanced degrees in development economics and public administration, Dattijo will bring a rare blend of academic excellence and real-world impact to the bank’s critical decisions. His pioneering scholarship, including a recent book outlining governance reforms to uplift marginalized communities, has won praise from leading thinkers.

Equally important is Dattijo’s concrete success turning economic strategies into improved lives. At the UN, he helped design the Sustainable Development Goals to promote equitable growth globally. As Commissioner of Budget and Planning for Kaduna State, he implemented innovative policies aligned with the SDGs that expanded access to education, healthcare and economic opportunities.

Complementing Dr Cardoso’s vision, Emem Usoro brings with her over two decades in banking, with a remarkable journey at the United Bank for Africa. Her ascendancy, coupled with her ground-level expertise, assures policies that resonate with the banking sector’s realities.

 This union of economists and bankers marks a promising pivot. It hints at a CBN approach that confronts not just surface-level concerns – like inflation and currency value – but also the underlying systemic challenges

With the nomination of Mrs. Usoro as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, President Tinubu has tapped one of the country’s brightest financial minds to take on a pivotal economic leadership role. Mrs. Usoro brings over 20 years of rich experience spanning critical banking functions including retail, commercial, corporate finance and marketing.

Read also: Naira fall continues after Cardoso becomes acting CBN governor

Beyond exemplary industry credentials, Mrs. Usoro holds four certificates from Harvard Business School complementing her MSc and BSc degrees – evidence of the intellectual aptitude she will bring to monetary policy decisions. Mrs. Usoro’s unique brilliance has been recognized through honors like inclusion in UBA’s Superwomen 101 initiative for exceptional women leaders.

Philip Ikeazor’s global banking acumen, having held roles across various continents, adds a unique layer of expertise. His grasp on the intricacies of different financial systems positions him as an invaluable asset in this formidable lineup. Armed with over 30 years of experience across the highest echelons of finance, Mr. Ikeazor is set to bring steadfast leadership to the central bank. As CEO of Keystone Bank, he guided operations amid volatility. At Ecobank Kenya, he led regional expansion initiatives.

Equally valuable is his success leading major change programs that transformed organizational performance. Under his watch, efficiency and competitiveness dramatically improved. Beyond impressive industry credentials, Mr. Ikeazor holds an economics degree from the University of Buckingham and attended executive programs at Harvard and Wharton.

Lastly, Bala Bello, having shaped corporate strategy across various financial entities, offers a broad perspective, making him a versatile addition to the team. As Executive Director at the Nigerian Export-Import Bank, he provided strategic leadership in managing corporate services operations. Mr. Bello has also held critical roles at institutions including the Securities and Exchange Commission, Sigma Pensions Ltd, Marine Capital Limited and Apricot Investments. In these positions, he honed expertise across banking operations, treasury management, investment banking, strategic marketing and more. Mr. Bello is known for leadership acumen, communication skills and the ability to spearhead organizational change.

Read also: Olayemi Cardoso assumes duty as acting CBN governor

This union of economists and bankers marks a promising pivot. It hints at a CBN approach that confronts not just surface-level concerns – like inflation and currency value – but also the underlying systemic challenges. The diverse expertise ensures policies that are both robust and equitable. With Cardoso’s steady leadership, bolstered by a team of adept deputy governors, Nigeria stands on the cusp of an economic renaissance. This new CBN chapter promises a more synchronized approach, emphasizing both fiscal stability and equitable growth. As the nation turns the page, it anticipates a Central Bank where sharp banking insights and expansive economic wisdom converge.


Odewunmi is a business Strategy Consultant