Senate yesterday took steps to curb alleged recklessness of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on use of intervention funds.
The upper chamber frowned at alleged expenditure of N1.23trillion by the apex bank in 2015 without recourse to law.
The amount, the lawmakers said, far exceeds five per cent of CBN total revenue in 2014 as provided for in Section 38 of its Act.
This is contained in a bill sponsored by Senator Rose Oko (Cross River North) and passed for second reading yesterday.
Senator Oko in her lead debate on the Bill entitled: “A Bill for an Act to amend the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 to ensure transparency and accountability in the operation of the bank and subject intervention advances to the approval of National Assembly,” lamented that there is no mechanism in place to monitor and track the CBN intervention funds over the years.
She accused the apex bank of contravening relevant provisions of the constitution and the Fiscal Responsibility Act through extra-budgetary intervention to selected bodies, institutions and agencies under the guise of intervention funds.
She added that lack of proper tracking of CBN intervention funds has made it difficult for the lawmakers to properly oversee the agency.
According to her, many countries across the globe such as Ghana, Liberia, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa , United States of America and others, have windows for such interventions in their economy just as the CBN programme but carried them out in line with relevant laws regulating them and through legislative approval.
She submitted that aside the N1.23trillion spent by CBN in 2015 as intervention funds far exceeding the totality of five per cent of its revenue in 2014, it almost equal the N1.8trillion voted as capital expenditure for the 2016 budget.
“The need to bring the CBN Act 2007 in line with provisions of Nigerian constitution by subjecting it to National Assembly scrutiny and approval has become imperative,” she said.