THE plan by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to introduce N5,000 note into the economy next year was faulted yesterday by the Senate Committee on Banking, Currency and other Financial Institutions, which directed the apex bank to rescind the decision.
At a press conference in the National Assembly yesterday in Abuja, the panel’s chairman, Senator Bassey Otu, said the lawmakers were taken aback by media reports on the action of the CBN, positing that such a sensitive matter needed consultation with the legislature.
“As a committee we should do our work. Today (yesterday) there is a burning issue in our country and there is need for us as a committee to comment on this topical issue. We have read in the papers just like you about the currency restructuring that the CBN embarked on. I believe that a project of this nature requires parliamentary approval because it has fiscal implications on the economy,’’ he said.
Otu said the action of the CBN could send wrong signals to both Nigerians and the international community on the country’s economy. ‘’This type of action is only taken where there is a major crisis and the CBN must be very careful in order not to send a wrong signal or message to households, domestic sector and even the external ones that the Nigerian currency is valueless, which I believe it is definitely not, and that for every unit of value they need to carry a large quantity of cash,’’ he declared.
According to him, the CBN did a similar thing about four years ago and the outcome was not palatable.
The lawmaker said the CBN must prove that the policy is not a clear contradiction with its cash-less initiative.
Last Thursday, CBN Governor Sanusi Lamido, announced the plan to introduce N5,000 while the existing N500, N200, N100 and N50 notes would be redesigned. Lamido also disclosed that President Goodluck Jonathan had approved the plan since December last year.
Speaking in the same vein, the Social Democratic Mega Party (SDMP) described apex bank’s move as not being in the interest of the economy but former Director-General of the defunct Centre for Democratic Studies (CDS), Prof. Omo Omoruyi said that the CBN has the prerogative to take the decision.
“I think it is the prerogative of the CBN to do that. We tend to politicise everything in this country. I believe the CBN must have done its homework. The moment we make so much noise about such things, there could be unanticipated results.Whatever the argument is, the CBN has the exclusive right to do so,” he said.
The SDMP in a statement issued in Benin City, Edo State yesterday by its Director of Media, Publicity and Propaganda, Frank Ukonga, said the move was “anti-people.”
He said the party “rejects in strong terms, the proposed change of the existing denominations and the introduction of the N5,000 naira notes by Lamido.”
The party called for a return to status quo anti bellum until the Senate and House of Representative and other Nigerian leaders endorsed it.
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