Senate Backs Naira Redesign Policy, Resolves To Provide Legislative Support
The Nigerian Senate has resolved to provide legislative support to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the proposed redesign of N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes.
This resolution was made on Wednesday during a plenary session following a debate on a motion moved by Senator Uba Sani on the CBN policy move.
But while most lawmakers were in support of the motion, they also questioned the impacts the redesign will have on the economy and residents living in rural areas.
After Senator Uba Sani moved the motion on the redesign of the new naira, the motion was debated. Senator James Manager said:
“I support this motion. It is not a new thing here, we have even done it before. When I heard it, I jumped at it because that is what it is supposed to be done. We have mandated the CBN to go into this thing so long there is approval from the President. Flexibility is what is important now. I, therefore, support this motion and what is important is for it to achieve its purpose and target.”
Senator Chukwuka Utazi in his debate urged the house to have a dialogue with the CBN Governor to ensure that the local people do not suffer from the policy. He said:
“At the onset of this announcement, we started hearing divergent opinions. But I know that all of us who are very used to banking and financial institutions know that it is the duty of the Central Bank of any country to bring fiscal policies that have everything to do about banking including change of notes and they don’t share this with anybody and Mr Godwin Emefiele has just exercised just power.
“Having said that, I also want to say that because of the peculiarity of Nigeria, we beg the leadership of the National Assembly to interface with the CBN Governor to ensure that our local people do not suffer this policy.”
Senator Ali Ndume backed Senator Utazi, arguing that “it is very important to ask the CBN to come up with ways on how to handle the situation that most of our rural populace are facing in terms of cash keeping.”
In his submission, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu said the compliance deadline given by CBN should be extended to April next year.
He said “I would like to ask my colleagues to support some amendment of this motion that the CBN should go as far as April ending to enable people to deposit their cash in banks.”
Meanwhile, Senator Gabriel Suswam argued that there was no need for the CBN governor to seek the senate’s support since the new naira notes are already being printed.
He said “While we all agree there is the exclusive prerogative of the CBN to design our money, I worry that the CBN Governor who is seeking our support has in the past shown utmost disrespect for this chamber.”
“The President has already approved and they are already printing so what are we talking about here? If the CBN had wanted our support, one would have expected that there would have been proper consultation. Let him go ahead and do what he is doing.”
The Senate resolved to provide legislative support for the CBN by mandating the Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions to embark on legislative oversight to ensure that Nigerians are adequately protected from the CBN, banks and other agencies involved in the process; and encourage Nigerians and the general public to comply with the CBN directive to deposit cash at their respective commercial banks.
On October 26, 2022, the CBN announced that it will issue redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 notes effective from December 15, 2022.
According to CBN, the existing currencies will remain legal tender until January 31, 2023.