Naira Redesign: Senate mandates committee to ensure Nigerians’ protection
The Senate has mandated its Committee on Banking, Insurance and other financial institutions to embark on an aggressive oversight to ensure Nigerians are adequately protected from operations of CBN and banks on implementing the naira redesign policy.
The Senate resolution was sequel to a motion passed at the plenary on Wednesday ”on the redesign of the new naira notes by the CBN and call for legislative support.”
Uba Sani (APC-Kaduna), while presenting the motion, said the integrity of the naira and efficient supply of bank notes are indicators of a performing central bank, especially in predominantly cash-based economies such as Nigeria.
He said the currency management in recent times in Nigeria had faced a series of challenges and affected the ability of CBN to efficiently carry out its mandate of legal tender to members of the public.
Mr Sani said available statistics showed that cash outside the Nigerian banks consists of over 80 per cent of the currency in circulation as of June 2022.
He noted that the data indicated that N2.72 trillion out of the N3.26 trillion currency in circulation was outside the domain of commercial banks across the country.
The senator said recent developments in computer technology and printing devices have made the production of counterfeit money relatively easy, thereby increasing the potential threats of counterfeiting.
According to him, the banks, in recent years, have recorded a consistent rise in incidences of counterfeiting of the naira with N500 and N1,000 denominations of banknotes.
“The redesign would assist in curbing the terrorist access for funds as ransom as the movement of funds would be tracked easily by the banks,” he said.
He said although Nigerians have legitimate concerns about the time to comply with the policy, there was a need for Nigerians to comply, given the importance of the policy to the economy at the moment.
The minority leader, Philip Aduda (PDP-FCT), who seconded and supported the motion, said the redesign of the currency by law was to be done every 10 years.
He, however, said the vulnerable in rural communities should be assisted by the banks during the implementation of the policy, as many of the people do not practice modern banking operations.
Other senators who supported the motion and shared the sentiments of Mr Aduda on the fate of the rural dwellers on the naira redesign included Sabi Abdullahi (APC-Niger), James Manager (PDP-Delta), Ali Ndume (APC-Bornu), Barau Jibril (APC-Kano), and Chukwuka Utazi (PDP-Enugu).
Biodun Olujimi (PDP-Ekiti) said the one-month time frame was too short for Nigerians to transfer the cash to the commercial banks.
Betty Apiafi (PDP-Rivers) asked rhetorically if the naira redesign policy would further improve the economy, adding that there was a need to get clarification on its effect on the economy from CBN before implementation.
Orji-Uzor Kalu (APC-Abia) called for the extension of the time frame to April 31, given the festive period, as Nigerians would be occupied with several activities and may be struggling to meet up with the timeline given by the CBN.
Gabriel Suswan(PDP-Benue) said it would be ridiculous for the Senate to give legislative support for a policy that has been concluded on implementation by the CBN.
Another resolution passed by the Senate on the motion was to provide legislative support for the redesign of the new banknotes by CBN.
It also encouraged Nigerians and the general public to comply with the CBN directives to deposit cash at their respective commercial banks within the timeline.
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