Richard INGWE

Autonomy of national apex banks has been one of the major strategies of sustaining the hegemony of neoliberalism on global and national economies.
The recent and ongoing crises within neoliberal-capitalism (2007-present) has been raised to visibility issues in the nexus of national apex banking (autonomy, interests, structure, operation, form, among others)  as means of improving macro-economic stability and sustaining national socio-economic growth and development. Irrespective of prolonged mismanagement of the national economy and the presentation of conspicuous macro-economic instability, among other socio-economic challenges, there is a gap in information and knowledge regarding the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)‟s role in responding to these challenges. Here, we review critical literature on adverse consequences of global apex banking autonomy on sustainable development generally –including impacts on vulnerable populations excluded by the elite from sustainable development processes and platforms. Then we examine recent public discourses concerning Nigeria‟s apex bank‟s autonomy by various stakeholders including: recent attempts by Nigeria‟s federal legislators to strip the CBN of its autonomy; responses by the ruling and major political parties and the CBN‟s leadership, among others. Afterwards we examine the track-records of the CBN macro-economic management and of Nigeria‟s federal legislature in contributing towards Nigeria‟s socio-economic development in Nigeria‟s Fourth Republic (1999-2012/present). We find that Nigeria‟s federal legislation aimed at stripping the CBN of its autonomy is a reprisal against the CBN‟s recent criticism of the rather disproportionately large budgetary allocation to and expenditure on recurrent expenditure on the salaries and allowances of the National Assembly thereby neglecting and downplaying capital expenditure on development programmes/projects. The implications of this findings for policy is that while the CBN‟s leadership is not without blemish, the autonomy of Nigeria‟s apex bank must be sustained considering the trend of pervasive corruption and mismanagement in the  executive, legislative and judicial arms of Nigeria‟s Fourth Republic dominated by the ruling Peoples‟ Democratic Party.

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