March 13, 2018 / 5:27 PM / 5 months ago

Nigeria Senate to screen central bank nominees to support economy

ABUJA, March 13 (Reuters) - Nigeria’s Senate plans to start screening new members of the central bank’s interest rate committee after it held up some of President Muhammadu Buhari’s nominees in a political spat.

Rafiu Ibrahim, the head of the Senate’s banking committee, brought a motion on Tuesday urging parliament to consider Buhari’s nominations.

The Senate disagreed with the president about its powers to confirm - or deny - his nominees to key government posts, a disagreement that has kept several prospective members of Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) from being approved.

Buhari has nominated central bank veteran, Edward Adamu, to be a deputy governor of the bank, replacing Sulaiman Barau, who retired in December. But Adamu and others are yet to be screened .

Consequently, the MPC has just four members now, out of 12 positions. A quorum of at least six members is needed to approve an interest rate decision.

Unable to gather a quorum, the central bank had to cancel a meeting in January and leave rates unchanged at 14 percent, where they have been for more than a year.

An MPC meeting is scheduled for next week, with a decision on rates due on Tuesday. (Reporting by Camillus Eboh, writing by Chijioke Ohuocha, editing by Larry King)

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