Michael Olayemi Cardoso yesterday began his tenure as the 12th Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor following his clearance for the position by the Senate.
He promised to provide transparent and focused leadership with full adherence to the rules and return the apex bank to its core monetary policy responsibility.
He also pledged to work in synergy with the fiscal authorities in the overall interest of the economy in the short and medium term.
Cardoso, 66, a former chairman of Citi Bank, was Lagos State Commissioner for Budget and Economic Planning.
He spoke during his screening alongside the four deputy governors by the Senate. All of them were cleared.
The deputy governors are: Mrs. Emem Usoro, Mr. Muhammad Sani Abdullahi Dattijo, Mr. Philip Ikeazor and Dr. Bala M. Bello.
The deputy governors also responded to some of the questions posed by senators, including Senate President Godswill Akpabio.
All the nominees left the senators in no doubt about their capacity and capability.
Cardoso said for 12 years, between 2010 and 2022 he had the privilege of serving as the chairman of Citi Bank where: “I dedicated myself to enhancing both the financial and non-financial operations of the institution.’’
He told the Senate that the issue of exchange rate of the Naira to other currencies was worrisome.
“For the type of economy that we want, we need to have an exchange rate that is stable and we must apply short and medium term measures to achieve this,’’ he said.
Cardoso added that CBN’s new management team would evolve rules that were open and transparent and comprehensible by all players in the finance business.
“We cannot expect serious foreign investors and portfolio investors who have an impact on the market to do so if we do not have a transparent system that everybody understands and can rely on,’’ he said.
On inflation, he said: “There is the need to significantly revamp the infrastructure at the central bank with respect to data and to ensure that our data gathering capacity is significantly enhanced.
“This is necessary so that we can make decisions based on stellar data. This is crucial in measuring inflation,’’ he stressed.
He added that reliable studies showed that in the past 10 years to 15 years, at least 50 per cent of inflation resulted from money supply and deficit financing.
“This is a big problem; at least it certainly has been over a period of time and it is something we have to face frontally.
“You have been hearing a lot of complaints. There are various measures to be taken and some of them are already being taken like the removal of fuel subsidy and fast-tracking the collection of taxes,” he said.
Cardoso added: “In refocusing CBN to its core mandate, there is need to pull the CBN back from direct development, finance interventions into more limited advisory roles that support economic growth. These advisory roles would include, for instance, one, act as a catalyst in propagation of specialized institutions and financial products that support emerging sectors of the economy, facilitate new regulatory frameworks to unlock enormous capital, accelerate access to consumer credit, and expand financial inclusions to the masses.”
He assured the Senate that the CBN under his watch will not be hijacked or used by politicians.
He said: “This is a position of great trust and with that it comes with huge responsibility to meet up that trust …and my idea is to do what is right and how it is right. We have seen the effect of not doing what is right and we do not intend to go that route.
“Secondly, on the issue of not obeying the hallowed chambers’ summons for conversation, frankly, I have absolute no doubt that that has got to be part of the engagements that I spoke about earlier.