House Invites Bank CEOs Over Scarcity of new Naira Notes. Wants Deadline Extended

By Starrys Obazei | January 24, 2023

As the lingering scarcity of new naira notes continues eight days after the January 31 deadline for the old notes, the House of Representatives, on Tuesday, resolved to invite Deposit Money Banks, also known as commercial banks, on Wednesday over the urgent matter.

Also, the House is considering extending the deadline for the old notes to six months.

Under the auspices of the Bankers’ Committee, the Managing Directors/Chief Executive Officers of the banks, are to meet with an ad hoc committee of the House to be chaired by the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa.

At its plenary on Tuesday, the House resolved that the banks should be invited to explain the alleged supply shortage from the Central Bank of Nigeria, after which the lawmakers would invite the leadership of the apex bank for questioning, just to resolve the ongoing blame game.

Further, the House resolved that the window for swapping the old notes with the new ones be extended by six months.

The resolution followed the unanimous adoption of a motion of urgent public importance moved by a member of the House from Katsina State, Sara Soli, at the opening of the session.

Soli noted that the CBN was insisting on the January 31 validity deadline for the new N1,000, N500, and N200 notes despite that Nigerians have limited access to them.

On Monday, eight days before the January 31 deadline, banks’ Automated Teller Machines in Lagos, Abuja, and other parts of the country were still dispensing the old notes.

Despite the CBN and depositing banks’ assurances that Nigerians would begin to receive the new naira notes from ATMs across different platforms, findings as of Sunday showed that many ATMs belonging to the financial institutions were dispensing the old notes.

The House had in December summoned Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, over the latest policy by the apex bank which, among others, set limits to cash withdrawals from banks and other financial institutions.

After Emefiele failed to appear before the House on two occasions, the lawmakers had instead grilled Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, Central Bank of Nigeria, Aisha Ahmad, who led the Committee of Governors before the lawmakers.

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