Reps threatens CBN Governor with arrest over naira note extension deadline
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The President Muhammadu Buhari and the House of Representatives are on collision course over the deadline for the withdrawal of old naira notes.
The CBN had before now, given January 31 deadline for the exchange of old naira notes of N200, N500 and N1000 with the new ones.
But the President yesterday, on the request of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN approved a 10-day extension of the deadline for the withdrawal of old naira notes to February 10, 2023.
A seven-day grace period, beginning on February 10 to February 17,2023, was also approved to enable Nigerians deposit their old notes at the CBN after the February deadline when the old currency would cease to be recognized as legal tender.
But the House of Representatives in a swift reaction yesterday, rejected the extension, insisting that the CBN complied with its resolution that the deadline be extended by six months.
Buhari approves deadline-Emefiele
The 10-days extension of the deadline was approval was given by the President after meeting with the apex bank’s governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, in Buhari’s country home in Daura, Katsina State on Sunday.
The President consented to Emefiele”s request, urging more time, discretion and order to enable Nigerians successfully change their currencies to the redesigned notes, and reduce the risk of loss, especially among the underserved in rural areas.
Emefiele briefed correspondents after the meeting, revealing that 75 per cent of the N2.7 trillion held outside the banking system had been recovered, with evident drop in the rate of inflation, more stability of foreign exchange rates, and noticeable impact on security, especially in banditry and kidnapping figures.
He said: “First, I will like to thank Mr. President for giving the CBN the approval to embark on this ambitious programme because, like I said, in the past, the CBN has not had the opportunity to embark on such currency redesign programme in last 19 years. ‘’Let me emphasize that only an incorruptible leader of the President’s stature can give such approval to the CBN.’’
The CBN governor, who noted that currency redesigns were supposed to be every five to eight years, said: “Our aim is mainly to make monetary policy decisions more efficacious and as you can see, we have started to see inflation trending downwards and exchange rates relatively stable.
“Secondly, we aim to support the efforts of our security agencies in combating banditry and ransom taking in Nigeria through this programme and we see that the military is making good progress in this important task.
“We are happy that so far, the exercise has achieved a success rate of over 75 per cent of the N2.7 trillion held outside the banking system. Nigerians in the rural areas, villages, the aged and vulnerable have had the opportunity to swap their old notes; leveraging the Agent Naira Swap initiative as well as the CBN Senior staff nationwide sensitization team exercise.
Recall that last week the House via a resolution, demanded an extension of the deadline by six months. The House further constituted an adhoc committee, headed by the Leader of the House, Ado Doguwa, to interface with the governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, and the Chief Executive Officers of commercial banks on the scarcity of the notes.
In a statement rejecting the 10 days extension of the deadline approved by President Buhari yesterday, Doguwa said: “The 10-day extension for the exchange of the old naira notes is not the solution. We as a legislative committee with a constitutional mandate of the House, would only accept clear compliance with section 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN act and nothing more.
“Nigeria as a developing economy and a nascent democracy must respect the principle of the rule of law.”
Doguwa said under his chairmanship, the committee would continue its work until it got the demands of Nigerians addressed in accordance with the laws of the land.
Describing the extension as a mere political gimmick to further deceive Nigerians and worsen their economic and social livelihood, Doguwa said the policy was capable of frustrating the forthcoming general elections, insisting that the House would issue a warrant of arrest on the CBN governor, if he failed to appear before the committee, which is expected to wind off its activities tomorrow.
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