History of the CBN
G. D. Paton Report
The period 1892 - 1952, there was an enquiry by the then colonial administration to investigate banking practice in Nigeria. The G. D. Paton Report which emanated from the enquiry was the basis for the first Banking Ordinance of 1952. The ordinance was designed to ensure orderly commercial banking and to prevent the establishment of unviable banks. A draft legislation for the establishment of Central Bank of Nigeria was presented to the House of Representatives in March, 1958. The Act was fully implemented on 1 July, 1959 when the Central Bank of Nigeria came into full operations.
Central Bank Act, 1958
The Central Bank Act, 1958 (as amended) and the Banking Decree 1969 (as amended) constituted the legal framework within which the CBN operates and regulates banks. The wide range of economic liberalization and deregulation measures following the adoption, in 1986, of a Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) resulted in the emergence of more banks and other financial intermediaries. The Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BOFI) Decrees 24 and 25 of 1991, which repealed the Banking Decree 1969 and all its amendments, were, therefore, enacted to strengthen and extend the powers of CBN to cover the new institutions in order to enhance the effectiveness of monetary policy, regulation and supervision of banks as well as non-banking financial institutions. Unfortunately in 1997, the Federal Government of Nigeria enacted the CBN (Amendment Decree No. 3 and BOFI (Amended)] Decree No. 4 in 1997 to remove completely the limited autonomy which the Bank enjoyed since 1991.
The 1997 amendments
The 1997 amendments brought the CBN back under the supervision of the Ministry of Finance. The Decree made CBN directly responsible to the Minister of Finance with respect to the supervision and control of bank and other financial institutions, while extending the supervisory role of the bank to other specialised Banks and Financial Institutions. The amendment placed enormous powers on the Ministry of Finance while leaving the CBN with a subjugated role in the monitoring of the financial institutions with little room for the Bank to exercise discretionary powers.
The 1998 amendments
The CBN (Amendment) Decree No. 37 of 1998 which repealed the CBN (Amended) Decree No. 3 of 1997. The Decree provided a measure of operational autonomy for the CBN to carry out its traditional functions and enhances its versatility.
The CBN Act, 2007
The current legal framework within which the CBN operates is the CBN Act of 2007 which repealed the CBN Act of 1991 and all its amendments. The Act provides that the CBN shall be a fully autonomous body in the discharge of its functions under the Act and the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act with the objective of promoting stability and continuity in economic management. In line with this, the Act widened the objects of the CBN to include ensuring monetary and price stability as well as rendering economic advice to the Federal Government.
The BOFI (Amendment) Decree, 1998
Furthermore, the regulatory powers of the CBN were strengthened by the Banks and other Financial Institutions (Amendment) Decree No. 38 of 1998 which repealed BOFI (Amendments) Decree No. 4 of 1997. Through the amendments, the CBN may vary or revoke any condition subject to which a license was granted or may impose fresh or additional condition to the granting of a license to transact banking business in the country.
By the Decree, the CBN's powers on banks, specifically those relating to withdrawal of licenses of distressed banks and appointment of liquidators of these banks, including the NDIC was restored.
The 1999 amendment
The BOFI (Amendment) Decree No. 40 of 1999 makes the provisions relating to failing banks applicable to other financial institution. It also empowers the Governor of the CBN to remove any manager or officer of a failing bank or other financial institution.
The Money and Capital markets
The CBN has also taken responsibility for nurturing the money and capital markets. In furtherance of this, the CBN introduced treasury bills in 1960, treasury certificate in 1968, and facilitated the establishment of Lagos Stock Exchange in 1961 and the capital issue committee now known as the Securities & Exchange Committee in the early 1970s.