Emefiele avoids arrest, begs reps for understanding over scarce recoloured naira notes

Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has urged lawmakers and Nigerians to show understanding, adding that the CBN was out to combat insecurity by introducing the new naira banknotes.

Mr Emefele said this in Abuja on Tuesday before the House of Representatives fact-finding ad hoc committee on the scarcity and the deadline for the old naira notes. The CBN chief urged Nigerians to bear with the CBN while urging Nigerians to comply with all directives.

“At this initial stage, there will be hitches, but it is to make the Nigerian economy better and stronger,” Mr Emefiele said. He said the CBN had deployed its entire staff to go to their locality to sensitise them on the new naira notes, adding that this had achieved a success of over 75 per cent.

He said out of N2.7 trillion old currency notes in circulation, CBN had recovered N1.9 trillion while commending Nigerians for complying with the implementation of the cashless policy.

“Even if the old notes have exhausted their legal tender status, you can bring it to the CBN. You will not lose your money. We are happy that in 19 years, we are able to carry out this mandate,” Mr Emefiele explained. “The redesigned naira notes and CBN’s cashless policy has moderated inflation in the country and also curtailed the activities of kidnappers and bandits.”

He added, “Inflation is moderating, exchange rate is stable and we are hoping that naira can be stronger. The incidence of kidnapping and banditry has reduced,” adding that the CBN was aware that in the process of redesigning of naira notes, some would be hurt.

The CBN governor explained that in 2022, the total currency from CBN was N3.2 trillion, and more than N2.7 trillion was out of the banking system, making the apex bank’s mandate difficult.

“In 2016, the currency in circulation was N1.4 trillion naira, adding that in October 2022, the currency in circulation rose to N3.23.trillion. N2.7 trillion are out of the banking system, it was being held in people’s hands, and it makes CBN policy implementation difficult,” Mr Emefiele added, revealing that the total amount of money with the CBN was about N500 billion.

Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, the committee chairman, said regarding Mr Emefiele, “We invited him twice and he is finally here. This is victory for our democracy, the economy and the people of Nigeria. The import of this engagement is based on the mandate of the house through a motion.”

This, according to him, borders on the concerns raised by Nigerians on the policy of naira redesigning and mopping out of the old naira notes.

“We felt we have the moral obligation to invite you to engage with Nigerian people. This is a fact-finding committee to get the updates of what is happening,” Mr Ado-Doguwa.

The legislator said the committee had extracted some information from bank operators, adding that its major concern is the lives and livelihood of Nigerians and the economy, including the rule of law.

He said the CBN policy has a direct bearing on lives.

“The cashless policy is a good policy; let’s see how we can partner to make it work. We are under moral obligation to seek clarification from you,” added Mr Ado-Doguwa.

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