Legislature Nigeria Top Story

Senate requests withdrawal of old Naira notes until July 31

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The Senate has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to push back the deadline for old naira notes to be withdrawn from circulation from January 31 to July 31.

Additionally, the upper house requested the CBN to establish an exchange window where those without bank accounts may deposit their old bills.

The motion made by Sen. Sadiq Suleiman (APC-Kwara) during Tuesday’s plenary led to the senate’s resolutions.

Suleiman, who proposed the motion, reminded that the Senate had encouraged the CBN to extend the usage of the old notes from January 31 to June 30 in its resolution from December 28, 2022.

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However, the apex bank had insisted on ending the usage of the old naira notes by the end of January, he claimed.

Suleiman requested to extend the deadline to July 31 after lamenting that there weren’t enough brand-new naira notes in use.

He said: “Experiences around the world have shown that such abrupt decision if not controlled usually created chaos.

“The Senate should extend the use of the old notes to July 31,” he said.

Sen. Ibrahim Hadejia (APC-Jigawa), who backed the motion, claimed that the request for an extension was made on behalf of their constituents and not for their own personal gain.

“In my constituency, no Automated Teller Machine (ATM) is dispensing the new notes.”.

Sen. Adamu Aliero (PDP-Kebbi), in a similar vein, claimed that the measure will cause enormous suffering for those residing in rural areas.

“The CBN governor should be invited,” he said.

Sen. Adamu Bulkachuwa (PDP-Bauchi) claimed that without the extension, anarchy would reign.

Sen. Biodun Olujimi (PDP-Ekiti), lamenting the fact that 90% of residents in her local government area have yet to receive a glimpse of the new naira notes, urged the apex bank to “look away from the elections.”

She claimed that failing to extend the deadline would result in collateral damage and be bad for the economy.

Sen. Mohammed Ndume (APC-Borno) urged the Senate to “require the CBN governor to extend the date” by using its oversight authority over the CBN.

He urged the senators to remain steadfast in their support for the proposal for an extension, saying that the senate’s authority should not be minimised.

The only senator to vote against the motion was Sen. Sam Egwu (PDP-Ebonyi), who stated that “Nigerians do not have the culture of putting their money in the bank.”

“It is in Nigeria where cash is used arbitrarily; other countries use electronic means.

“Nigerians are just averse to change,” Egwu said.

The majority of the senatorial districts lack banks, according to remarks made by Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

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 window for exchange. We must have policies by the CBN to have bank branches established in rural areas.“We need this extension for the most ordinary Nigerians,” Lawan said.

Plans to redesign the 200, 500, and 1,000 naira notes were announced by CBN on October 26.

President Muhammadu introduced the new naira notes in November 2022 in response to the notification made by the top bank.

The CBN issued a warning that the deadline of January 31 to stop using the outdated 200, 500, and 1000 Naira notes would not be extended.

To avoid suffering financial losses, the bank advised all Nigerians to take advantage of the window set aside for the return of the old currencies to commercial banks.

Dr. Angela Sere-Ejembi, director of the bank’s financial markets department, issued the warning on Thursday in Makurdi while leading a team to Benue to educate the populace and assess how well commercial banks were following the apex bank’s instructions regarding the issuance of the newly designed Naira notes. She expressed satisfaction with the level of compliance in the banks her team had so far visited.

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