New naira notes: Reps summon banks' CEOs, CBN Governor

House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila

House of Representatives Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila presiding over the House of Representatives

By Femi Ogunshola

Worried by the continuous scarcity of new naira noted ahead of the January 31 deadline for the phasing out of the old one, the House of Representatives on Tuesday summoned the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele and bank operators in the country. .

The decision to summon Emefiele and bank CEOs followed the adoption of a motion of urgent public importance moved by Rep. Sanda Soli (APC-Katsina) at the plenary on Tuesday.

In his motion, Soli had decried what he called the CBN’s refusal to listen to the cry of Nigerians for the extension of the Jan. 31 deadline for the deposit of the old naira notes.
He stated stating that this might have negative effect on the economy.

The lawmakers further noted that all over the world, currencies were being ‘phased out’ and not ‘forced out’.

He said:” I am of the view that our currencies are being forced out and there is the need for some reviews and sensitisation by CBN and non-bank promoters.”

The lawmaker called for review of the cashless policy, adding that CBN should ensure price stability.

He further noted that while the cashless policy was in tandem with global best practices most banks in Nigeria did not have what it takes to ensure that such was achieved.

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The bank operators are to appear on Wednesday, while the CBN governor will appear on Thursday.

Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep Femi Gbajabiamila, said that as good as the policy was, the modus operandi and the timing were the problem.

Gbajabiamila said that the currency should be phased out gradually, such that Nigerians would use the old and new naira together.

“There is nothing wrong in reviewing a policy; banks are claiming they don’t have the new naira notes, while CBN is also claiming the banks have them,” he said.

The speaker said that banks’ managing directors should be invited to brief the leadership or the ad-hoc committee to find out whether the money was available, or they are being hoarded by banks.

The House, however, called for a six-month extension of the deadline to make the new notes available and that President Muhammadu Buhari should intervene on the debacle in the interest of Nigerians.

The House also set up an ad-hoc committee, led by Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, to meet with bank operators on Wednesday on Jan. 31 deadline on the old currency. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)

ODF/CHIN/WAS
Edited by Chinyere Bassey and ‘Wale Sadeeq

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