Godwin Emefiele doused the growing tension between the apex bank and the House of Representatives on Tuesday, when he finally honoured the summons of the lower House of the National Assembly, after failing two previous summons. The meeting ended up with a compromise, win-win situation because the CBN granted concession that the old Naira notes
Godwin Emefiele doused the growing tension between the apex bank and the House of Representatives on Tuesday, when he finally honoured the summons of the lower House of the National Assembly, after failing two previous summons.
The meeting ended up with a compromise, win-win situation because the CBN granted concession that the old Naira notes will still be accepted by the CBN in exchange for the new notes after the expiration of deadline for the stoppage of the old Naira notes as legal tender. This is in consonance with the CBN Act and the argument of the House of Representatives.
The CBN governor apologized for his previous failure to honour the summons of the House saying that it was not an affront or disrespect to the House but due to other national duties involving his office. In less than 70 minutes, the dust raised by the naira redesign and cashless policy went down and the two parties exchanged ideas.
He explained that the cashless policy was designed to help the economy. But was non-committal on how long the expired Naira notes would continue to be admitted by the banks. He may have wanted to go back and do some consultations with members of the CBN Board before committing to any date.
At the height of the face-off between the House of Representatives and the CBN governor, Speaker of the House, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, had accused the CBN governor of breaching Section 20 of the CBN Act which, according to him, mandates commercial banks to accept old notes much longer after the deadline.
Reading from the CBN Act to house members at plenary last Thursday Gbajabiamila said: “after the expiration date, such naira notes changed will no longer be legal tender but it also says that even five months, three months, or two months after, even in June, all the old notes presented to the bank shall be redeemed by the bank”.
Emefiele, while addressing the ad hoc committee, conceded to the position of the lawmakers on the interpretation of Section 20 of the CBN Act. His words: “Section 20 says even after the old currency has lost its legal tender status that we are mandated to collect that money. And I stand with the House of Reps on this,” adding that; “if you have your money that you have not been able to send to the bank. We will certainly give you the opportunity to bring them back into the CBN to redeem it. Either you pay it to your bank account or you want to do an exchange, we’ll give you. You will not lose your money. This is the assurance I give to Nigerians.”
Speaking on the policy, Emefiele said the policy should have been introduced several years ago and that the CBN had only used the opportunity to make the economy more cashless. According to him, Nigerians would soon realise the benefits of the policy.
Speaking on steps taken by the Bank to ensure the effective distribution of the new banknotes, Mr. Emefiele said about N1.9 trillion had so far been collected since the commencement of the exercise. He said the currency redesign policy had so far recorded about a 75 per cent success rate given the fact that many of those in the rural and underserved locations across the 36 states of the country have had the opportunity of swapping their old banknotes for the new series of the banknotes.
The CBN governor who was accompanied to the meeting by all the four deputy governors of the Bank, disclosed that the apex Bank had deployed about 30,000 super agents to work with the Bank’s staff currently in the hinterland to ensure that the underserved and vulnerable members of the society are adequately catered for.
He said the CBN was working closely with relevant agencies of the Federal Government to ensure full compliance with the CBN guidelines issued to the deposit money bank for the seamless distribution of the new banknotes.
The chairman of the ad hoc committee, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, after the hearing that lasted over one hour, called for an executive (closed-door) session with members of the committee. He later led other members of the Committee to join the plenary.
The report of the committee was laid, considered and adopted by the House
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