CBN governor insists naira redesign, transaction limits not politically motivated

As the 2023 poll draws nearer, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mr Godwin Emefiele has faulted the notions held in certain quarters that the decision to redesign the naira notes and the transaction limit policy was politically motivated.

Speaking when he appeared before members of the House of Representatives, he maintained that the decision was taken based on verifiable data and research conducted by various monetary and fiscal departments of the apex bank.

Represented by his Deputy in charge of financial stability, Aishah Ahmad, he stressed that there is no way the CBN would take sides with any political party in view of its independent status as the apex financial institution in the country.

The Governor spoke in response to a question posed by Mr Chinedu Obidigwe (Anambra: APGA) who claimed that the newly introduced policy was aimed at preparing the grounds for the ruling All progressive congress (APC) to emasculate the opposition political parties.

Obidigwe’s position did not go down well with the overwhelming majority of members of the House, including Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila who is of the APC.

Emefiele declined to respond to further queries by Reps Sada Soli (Katsina: APC) Mark Gbillah (Benue: LP), and Ibrahim Obanikoro (Lagos: APC) who persistently demanded to know the quantum of monies expended to print the newly redesigned naira notes.

Obanikoro who faulted the CBN policy on the basis that it could lead to job losses and discourage his constituents from lodging their monies with the banks maintained that the CBN chief cannot feign ignorance of the amount spent on the printing of new naira notes since it must have been discussed and budgeted for in the management meeting.

Emefiele simply remarked that he was not in a position to share the figure involved in the implementation of the policy with the lawmakers at the time of his appearance.

Gbajabiamila had to wade in to prevail on the lawmakers who were dissatisfied with Emefiele response to give him another opportunity at an appointed date to render an account on the expenditures involved.

Nevertheless, the CBN chief who spoke at length on the benefits derivable from the policy disclosed that the CBN had already ordered the printing of 500 million pieces of the newly redesigned notes.

Stating that the cashless policy would remain indefinite nationwide, he explained that the apex bank was already liaising with the national orientation agency (NOA) traditional leaders, religious institutions, market associations and other critical stakeholders on measures to take to curtail the circulation of counterfeits of the newly redesigned naira notes in the polity.

Gbajabiamila upbraided the authorities of the apex bank over the refusal to render an account of their policies to the National Assembly in a clear breach of the law.

The Speaker who questioned the decision to set limits on the withdrawal of the old naira noted remarked that the controversy surrounding the naira redesign and cash limit transaction would have been averted if the CBN had consulted the National Assembly before now.


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