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NASS, CBN at odds over old naira notes’ deadline

NASS, CBN at odds over old naira notes’ deadline

The National Assembly’s two chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives, asked the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, yesterday to extend the deadline for the use of old naira notes beyond the January 31 deadline set by the apex bank.

While the Senate requested that the deadline be extended to July 31, the lower chamber suggested that it be moved to June.

However, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele stated yesterday that the January 31 deadline was still in effect.

The Senate urged the CBN in plenary yesterday to open an exchange window where people without bank accounts could deposit their old notes.

The Senate resolution followed a motion by Senator Sadiq Umar, APC, Kwara North, who demanded an extension to July 31, saying he was concerned by the apex bank’s insistence that there would be no extension.

Remember that the CBN announced in October last year that old naira notes would cease to be legal tender on January 31, but the Senate passed a resolution in December urging the apex bank to extend the deadline to June 30.

Moving the motion, Umar recalled that the Senate in its resolution on Dec. 28, 2022, urged the CBN to extend the use of the old notes from Jan. 31 to June 30, but noted, however, that the apex bank had insisted on terminating the use of the old naira notes by end of January.

Read Also: Senate Tells CBN To Extend Deadline For Old Naira Notes To July

Umar, who lamented that there weren’t enough new naira notes in circulation, moved that the deadline be extended to July 31.

He said: “Experiences around the world have shown that such abrupt decisions, if not controlled, usually created chaos.  The Senate should extend the use of the old notes to July 31.”

In their contributions, most senators overwhelmingly threw their weight behind the extension, citing scarcity of the new notes, both in the banks and at the various Automated Teller Machine points across the country.

Supporting the motion, Senator Ibrahim Hadejia, APC-Jigawa North East, said the call for extension was for their constituents and not their (lawmakers’) personal benefits.

He said:  “In my constituency, no Automated Teller Machine, ATM, is dispensing the new notes.”.

On his part, Senator Adamu Aliero, PDP, Kebbi   Central, said the policy would inflict untold hardship on people living in the rural areas, insisting that the CBN governor be invited by the Senate.

Also contributing, Senator Adamu Bulkachuwa, PDP-Bauchi North, said the extension was necessary, otherwise, there would be chaos.

In her contribution, Senator   Biodun Olujimi, PDP, Ekiti South, who lamented that in her local government area, about 90 percent of the people had not seen the new naira notes, called on the apex bank to “look away from the elections”.

She said if the date was not extended, it would lead to collateral damage which would not augur well for the economy.

On his part, Senator Ali Ndume, APC, Borno South, called on the Senate to use its oversight responsibility on the CBN to order the CBN governor to extend the date.

He said the power of the Senate should not be played down and called on senators to stand firm on the call for an extension.

For Senator Sam Egwu, PDP-Ebonyi North, who was the only senator that opposed the motion, “Nigerians do not have the culture of keeping their money in the bank. It is in Nigeria cash is used arbitrarily; other countries use electronic means. Nigerians are just averse to change.”

In his remarks, the President of the Senate, Senator   Ahmad Lawan, noted that most of the senatorial districts did not have banks.

He said: “In rural Nigeria, there are no banks and people transact businesses with cash more often. There is no doubt that we must have a window for exchange. We must have policies by the CBN to have bank branches established in rural areas.  We need this extension for most ordinary Nigerians.”

Lawan then put the prayers in the motion to vote and the lawmakers voted in support of the extension of the deadline from January 31 to July 31.

NASS, CBN at odds over old naira notes’ deadline

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