Nigeria appoints a new head for its central bank

Nigeria’s President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has announced the appointment of a former investment banker with a US education as the new head of the central bank. This decision comes several months after the previous central bank chief was arrested as part of a criminal inquiry, according to the government’s statement on Friday.

Tinubu’s selection, Olayemi Michael Cardoso, is reported by local media to be a Harvard alumnus and a former Citibank executive in Nigeria.

Since assuming office in May, the Nigerian leader has expedited the implementation of reforms aimed at attracting greater investment into Africa’s largest economy, as part of his “Renewed Hope” agenda.

“President Bola Tinubu has approved the nomination of Dr. Olayemi Michael Cardoso to serve as the new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN),” the presidency said in a statement.

The nomination of Cardoso and the formation of a new central bank board will require approval from lawmakers.

As a significant oil producer in Africa and the continent’s most populous nation, Nigeria is grappling with mounting challenges including a soaring inflation rate currently at 25 percent, elevated debt levels, and a depreciating naira currency.

Tinubu has garnered commendation from investors and foreign governments for his prompt economic reforms, which included discontinuing a longstanding subsidy to maintain low petrol prices and liberalizing the naira currency.

However, the immediate consequences of these reforms have led to a threefold increase in fuel prices, a significant depreciation of the naira against the dollar, and a hastening of inflation, all while the government appeals to Nigerians for patience.

Former central bank governor Godwin Emefiele, whose unconventional policies faced criticism, was apprehended by the national security agency in June following his suspension by Tinubu. He remains under investigation.

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