Old naira notes will still be in use after February 10 deadline, says Emefiele
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr Godwin Emefiele has allayed the fears that the old naira notes would no longer be tenable after the expiration of the February 10 deadline for the naira swap policy.
Speaking when he appeared before the Mr Ado Doguwa-led House of Representatives adhoc committee on the naira redesign and naira swap policy, he pledged to adhere to sections 20 sub 3, 4,5 of the CBN Act.
The CBN chief said Nigerians can be rest assured that they would be allowed to deposit their old naira notes with the apex bank even after the February 10 deadline as stipulated by the CBN Act.
Emefiele who was accompanied by top-ranking officials of the CBN pledged to ensure equitable and transparent distribution of the new naira notes to all banking outlets across the country.
Expressing satisfaction with the enthusiasm so far exhibited by Nigerians over the naira redesign and swap policy, he frowned at officials of some commercial banks that indulge in the unwholesome act of hoarding of the new naira notes.
Referring to a trending video on social media where bundles of new naira notes were sprayed at a party, he assured the lawmakers that he met with heads of deposits banks on Sunday aimed at addressing the anomaly and ensuring the availability of the new naira notes in the automated teller machines across the country (ATM).
He assured the lawmakers that the CBN is already collaborating with the Economic and financial crimes commission (EFCC), the independent corrupt practices and other related crimes commission (ICPC), the Nigerian intelligence finance unit (NFIU) and other security agencies to ensure the smooth implementation of the naira swap policy.
He said the recent arrest by DSS operatives of a syndicate that indulge in the breach of the naira swap policy spoke volumes of the inroads being recorded by the CBN to curtail the ugly trend.
The CBN chief further referred to the 1.5 million super agents, and the deployment of 30,000 of the agents to partake in the swap of a maximum of 10,000 naira aimed at ensuring coverage of over 80 percent of Nigerians as some of the measures put in place to achieve the desired goal.
He explained that the resolve by the apex bank deploys its staffers to their localities across the country to partake in the exercise was in furtherance of the objective of smooth implementation of the naira swap policy.
Emefiele maintained that the naira redesign and swap policy was in the best interest of the country as it would curb the inflationary trend,, stabilize the exchange rate of the naira to foreign currencies, and support security agencies in tackling the menace of banditry, kidnapping, and other criminal activities across the country.
He noted: “What we have done if for the good of Nigerians notwithstanding temporary pains. All we need from you is to show understanding. The overriding benefit is to make the economy stronger and combat Insecurity. The overriding interest is to make Nigeria great.”
Doguwa described the naira swap policy as a well-thought-out policy adding that it was unfortunate that its intent was misunderstood due to the gap in communication between the CBN authorities and the National Assembly.
He particularly applauded the CBN governor over the pledge to adhere to the CBN Act on the acceptability of the old naira notes after the expiration of the February 10 deadline.
He thereby directed the CBN chief to submit a weekly report of the disbursement of the new naira notes vis a vis the receipt of the old naira notes by commercial and other banking outlets in the country.
Sada Soli (Katsina: APC) who initiated the motion on the shoddy implementation of the naira swap policy and other members of the committee however pleaded with the CBN to increase the N20,000 withdrawal limits of the new naira notes on ATM machines.
Soli insisted that the withdrawal limit is inflicting pain on hapless Nigerians in need of cash to attend to their basic needs.