President Bola Tinubu’s nomination of Dr. Olayemi Michael Cardoso as the potential new governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has ignited a range of opinions among economists, as revealed in Nairametrics’ survey of expert views.
Dr. Cardoso, a former Citibank Nigeria chairman, boasts a distinguished career spanning over three decades in various sectors, including finance, development, and public service.
He has served on the boards of Nigerian subsidiaries of Texaco and Chevron and chaired EFInA, a financial sector development organization supported by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Notably, he played a pivotal role as the first Commissioner for Economic Planning and Budget for Lagos State, leading the financial reform initiatives that enhanced the state’s tax revenues.
Throughout his career, Dr. Cardoso has been a consultant and policy expert, collaborating with prominent international organizations such as the World Bank, Ford Foundation, UN-Habitat, World Health Organization, and the Swedish Development Foundation.
His journey began at Citibank, where he eventually attained the position of Vice President before co-founding Citizens International Bank, where he served as an Executive Director for eight years.
His accolades include an honorary Doctorate Degree in Business Administration from Aston University, his alma mater, and the Global Distinguished Alumni award from Citi.
Education-wise, Dr. Cardoso holds a Master’s in Public Administration from Harvard Kennedy School, where he was a Mason Fellow.
He completed his undergraduate studies, earning a Bachelor’s degree in Managerial and Administrative Studies from Aston University in 1980.
His extensive background encompasses banking, chartered stockbroking, and expertise in public policy.
Notably, he held the role of Commissioner in the Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget during President Bola Tinubu’s tenure as Lagos governor.
Here are economists’ perspectives on Dr. Cardoso’s nomination:
Moses Igbrude, President of the Independent Shareholders Association of Nigeria, emphasized that Dr. Cardoso’s performance would depend on President Bola Tinubu’s direction.
He stressed the importance of granting Cardoso autonomy to excel in his role.
Additionally, he underscored that the CBN should maintain its independence, focusing on policy formulation, supervision, and corporate governance.
Professor Tayo Bello, a former stockbroker and lecturer at Adeleke University, expressed his preference for a core economist to lead the CBN.
He argued that previous banker-led CBN eras, including Soludo’s, were marked by impactful policies that have not been replicated.
He favoured technocrats over political appointments and suggested economist Wale Adun for the CBN role.
Dr. Emeka Okengwu, CEO of Anthill Concepts Limited, believed that Dr. Cardoso’s credentials and experience make him a suitable candidate for the CBN governorship. He also noted the presence of capable individuals within the Tinubu government with whom Cardoso could collaborate effectively.
Dr. Ayo Teriba, CEO of Economic Associates, commended President Tinubu’s nomination of Mr. Yemi Cardoso, emphasizing the need to restore probity and integrity to the CBN. “Nigeria urgently needs to restore probity and integrity to the CBN. Mr. Yemi Cardoso would do that. We should commend the president for nominating him for the role,” he said.
Dr. Muda Yusuf, CEO of the Center for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), affirmed that Cardoso is highly qualified for the position, citing his academic, intellectual, and industry credentials. According to him, “Cardoso is eminently qualified for the position.
He has the academic, intellectual and industry credentials to head the apex bank.”
Dr. Yemi Cardoso’s potential appointment as CBN governor has sparked a diversity of opinions among economists.
While some advocate for a return to core economists, others believe that Cardoso’s experience and qualifications make him a strong candidate for the role.
His success in the position, however, will depend on the extent to which he is allowed to operate independently and execute sound policies.