By Raphael Ekpang
Nigeria Senate on Tuesday urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the withdrawal date of the old naira notes from Jan. 31 to July 31.
The Senate also urged the CBN to open an exchange window where people that don’t have bank accounts to deposit their old notes can go and exchange their old for new notes.
The senate’s resolution was sequel to a motion by Sen. Sadiq Suleiman (APC-Kwara) during Tuesday’s plenary.
Moving the motion, Suleiman recalled that the Senate in it’s resolution on Dec. 28, 2022, urged the CBN to extend the use of the old notes from Jan. 31 to June 30.
He said that however, the apex bank had insisted on terminating the use of the old naira notes by end of Jan.
Suleiman lamented that there was no enough new naira notes in circulation and as such, moved that the date should be extended to July 31.
According to him, “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.
Supporting the motion, Sen. Ibrahim Hadejia (APC-Jigawa) said that the call for extension was for their constituents and not for their (lawmakers) personal benefits.
“In my constituency, no Automated Teller Machine (ATM) is dispensing the new notes.”.
Similarly, Sen. Adamu Bulkachuwa (PDP-Bauchi) said that the extension was necessary otherwise there would be chaos.
Sen. Biodun Olujimi (PDP-Ekiti) who decried that in her local government area, about 90 per cent of the people have not seen a glimpse of the new naira notes, called on the apex bank to “look away from the elections”.
She said that if the date was not extended, it would lead to collateral damage which would not augur well for the economy.
Sen. Mohammed Ndume (APC-Borno) called on the Senate to use its oversight responsibility on the CBN to “order the the CBN governor to extend the date”.
He said that the power of the senate should not be played down calling on the senators to stand firm on the call for extension.
In his remarks, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said that most of the senatorial districts did not have banks.
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..