By Aaron Ossai and Disun Amosun
As the House of Representatives and the Central Bank of Nigeria continue to maintain opposing positions and hard stances regarding the ongoing currency swap policy, the Legislature has initiated a last minute effort to reach a middle ground.
The House during Tuesday’s plenary resolved to meet with bank Operators and their Regulators next week Tuesday in a bid to reach a middle ground of at least six months upward review of the deadline given by the CBN for a gradual withdrawal of old naira notes in circulation and replace them with newly designed denominations of N1000, N500 and N200 notes currently in circulation side by side with the old ones.
The resolution, which also touched on the need for the Apex bank to review necessary aspects of the policy to ameliorate its perceived crunchy effects on customers, was sequel to a motion of urgent national importance raised by Rep. Sada Soli, member representing Jibia Federal Constituency, Katsina State.
Raising the motion, Rep. Soli noted that for such a policy to be successful, it should not be overbearing on the people and the economy.
He noted that “despite the relevance of the cashless policy and it being in tandem with global best practices, its successful implementation should not be overbearing on the people and the national economy”
The House expressed “concern that banks and POS are struggling with shortages of the redesigned new notes ahead of the Jan. 31st deadline, consequently making it difficult for them to comply with the CBN directives regarding their availability.
In his contribution, Rep Ahmed Jaha warned the CBN not to be falsely assured by happenings in urban areas where the new notes are partially visible, adding that in the vast rural areas of the country, the new notes are virtually non available there.
CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele remained adamant that the cashless and naira swap policy, complete with its operational timeframe is irreversible.
He said Tuesday morning in Abuja that enough of the new notes have been produced and effectively distributed nationwide to make the policy work seamlessly and achieve it’s set objectives.
It will be recalled that in December, 2022, the House of Representatives invited the CBN Governor to discuss the cashless policy and introduction of the redesigned N200, N500 and N1, 000 notes and advise them on the need for proper sensitisation on the new CBN policy.