NASS Seeks Six-Month Extension For Old Naira Notes
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NASS Seeks Six-Month Extension For Old Naira Notes

The lawmakers expressed concerns that businesses are already rejecting the old currencies, while banks are complaining of shortage of the new notes.

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NASS Seeks Six-Month Extension For Old Naira Notes

NASS Seeks Six-Month Extension For Old Naira Notes

NASS Seeks Six-Month Extension For Old Naira Notes

The House of Representatives and the Senate made the demand at a separate sitting on Tuesday.

At the green chamber, a member of the House, Sada Soli said for the policy to be successful, it must not be overbearing on the citizens.

The lawmaker expressed concerns that businesses are already rejecting the old currencies, while banks are complaining of a shortage of the new notes.

The House commended the policy of the apex bank but said its implementation is too abrupt and will be unfair to the incoming government.

The House also wants President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene and prevail on the CBN.

House of Representatives

The decision of the House to ask for the extension followed a motion of urgent public importance moved by Sada Soli (APC, Katsina) during plenary.

Moving the motion, Mr. Soli said banking and other financial institutions are struggling to cope with the rush by citizens to change their old currencies to new notes. He said the shortage of new notes is creating panic.

“Banks and POS outlets are struggling with the shortage of the redesigned new Naira notes ahead of the CBN deadline of January 31, 2023, consequently making it difficult for them to comply with the CBN directives as regards availability of the new notes for customers.

“Despite several concerns and appeals by the National Assembly, the Governors Forum, the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, and a host of other stakeholders in the country for the CBN to extend the period for the currency swap of the new Naira notes as well as a review of the cashless policy, the CBN has remained adamant on the given deadline,” he said.

He stated that the CBN should instead phase out the old currency within a longer period, like a year adding that the policy must get the buy-in of the people for it to work.

He informed his colleagues that traders in Katsina State have started rejecting the old notes.

Speaking in support of the motion, Ahmed Jaha (APC, Borno), said the CBN has been making efforts in Borno State to swap the old notes for new ones, however, the efforts are not enough to meet the deadline.

He stated that the activities of Boko Haram insurgents have shut down banking operations in most parts of Borno State.

“I just came back from my constituency yesterday, I want to use this opportunity to commend the CBN for taking certain steps to address this issue in my constituency. As I am talking to you, CBN staff have been in my constituency since yesterday. They went there with some amount to swap the little currency with people. It is a very good move but I also realized that the amount taken there is not enough to swap the available old currency.

“For the past 10 years, my constituency is (has been) operating without a single bank branch. People transact in cash,” Mr. Jaha said.

In his intervention, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, said the House needs to interface with the heads of commercial banks to understand the real situation on the ground.

NASS Seeks Six-Month Extension For Old Naira Notes

NASS Seeks Six-Month Extension For Old Naira Notes

“We can all agree that it is a good policy. There is a need to review the policy. I think we need to add another prayer because on one hand—this is the crux of the matter, the banks are saying they don’t have the money, and on the other hand, CBN is saying, no, you have the money.

“We need to amend and invite the bank MDs, the major ones to brief the leadership or a very small ad hoc committee. Let us find out the truth whether these new notes are available. Is it the banks or the CBN,” he said.

Consequently, the House resolved to set up an ad hoc committee chaired by Alhassan Doguwa (APC, Kano), the majority leader, to interface with the banks on Wednesday and subsequently meet with the CBN.

Senate

The Senate on Tuesday urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to soft-pedal on its deadline for phasing out old Naira notes fixed for the end of January but to extend to July 31, 2023.

The Red Chamber had in December 2022 directed the CBN to extend the deadline but the resolution was shunned by the apex bank.

This has caused panic in many parts of the country as the deadline draws nearer, with thousands, especially those in rural areas storming banks to exchange the old notes for new ones.

Senators, during a debate on a motion by Sadiq Suleiman Umar (APC, Kwara) at Tuesday’s plenary, said the new notes were not enough in circulation, warning that if the deadline was not extended, there would be chaos in many parts of the country.

The lawmakers also expressed dismay that the CBN had insisted on the January 31 deadline despite huge public outcries.

The Senate, therefore, asked the CBN to extend the deadline by six months to allow Nigerians especially those in rural areas more time to change their old notes.

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The Red Chamber also urged the CBN to compel deposit money banks to open a naira exchange window for those without bank accounts.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan assured that the National Assembly leadership would ensure that the resolution is implemented by the CBN.

NASS Seeks Six-Month Extension For Old Naira Notes

 

 

 

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