CBN says won't hold Interest Rate meeting, Rate to be held at 14%

Nigeria’s central bank said on Monday a key interest rate setting meeting intended for January 22-23 will not be held due to an inability to form a quorum, adding that the benchmark rate will be maintained at 14 percent.

The decision comes because there are not enough members of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN‘s) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) to form a quorum, the lender said in a statement.

“Under these circumstances, and in the absence of a meeting of the MPC, the CBN shall continue to maintain key monetary policy variables as decided by the last MPC meeting,” the central bank said.

On Friday, Reuters reported that the interest rate meeting was unlikely to be held because several new members of the MPC have yet to be approved by lawmakers, according to two central bank sources.

At least five of the MPC’s 12 members are due to be replaced after retiring last year.

At the heart of the matter is a stand-off between the presidency and legislature over the latter’s powers to confirm - or deny - executive nominees to key posts within the government.

After President Muhammadu Buhari appointed a top civil servant whose nomination Nigeria’s Senate had blocked, the upper parliamentary chamber is now refusing to approve other presidential nominees, including those for the MPC.

On Friday, a presidency official said he did not know when the stand-off would be resolved but it was being addressed by Buhari’s office.