The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has assured members of the House of Representatives that Nigerians won’t lose their money even after February 10 deadline for the swap of the old naira notes.
he said the apex bank will continue to redeem old N1000, N500 and N200 notes even after the February 10 deadline for their phase-out.
Emefiele was speaking when he appeared before the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee mandated to interface with the CBN over the phase-out of the old notes and scarcity of new ones.
The CBN governor, who apologised to the lawmakers over his failure to honour their previous two invitations, assured that Nigerians would not lose their money. He stated that the redesigned currency has helped to check inflation in the country and curtail kidnapping and banditry.
Emefiele’s appearance before the panel came on the heels of the threat of the speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila to issue an arrest warrant to compel him to honour the summon of the lawmakers.
The House had last week adopted a motion bemoaning the scarcity of the new notes. It also summoned the CBN management and Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of commercial banks to appear before the Ad-hoc Committee.
However, the CBN governor failed to honour the summons two consecutive times by last week, prompting Gbajabiamila’s threat to issue an arrest warrant against him.
However, Emefiele, while addressing the panel said: “Even if the old notes have exhausted their legal tender status, you can [still] bring [them] to the CBN; you will not lose your money. We are happy that in 19 years, we are able to carry out this mandate
“With the redesign of new naira notes, inflation is moderating, exchange rate is stable and we are hoping that the naira can be stronger.”
Moreover, the incidence of kidnaping and banditry had reduced, he added, pointing out that the CBN was aware that in the process of redesigning of naira notes, some would be hurt.
Emefiele, while appealing for the understanding of the parliament and Nigerians at large, said the CBN meant well, explaining that “at this initial stage, there will be hitches but it is to make Nigerian economy better and stronger.”
The CBN Governor informed that the apex had deployed its staff to various parts of the country to sensitize the populace about the new notes, assuring that the effort had recorded over 75 percent success.
Nevertheless, he blamed commercial banks for the scarcity of the new notes, stating that the banks breached the agreement for the issuance of the new notes through Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) only.
Earlier, Chairman of the panel committee, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, said the parliament was bothered about the effects of the CBN recent policies on the people, as well as the timing.
“The CBN Governor’s appearance was borne out of the respect he has for the institution, we invited him twice and he is finally here,” Ado-Doguwa said.
“This is victory for our democracy, the economy and the people of Nigeria. The importance of this engagement was based on the mandate of House through a motion.
“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. The committee had extracted the same information from banks operators and that its major concern was about the lives and livelihood of Nigerian and the economy including the rule of law.”