The House of Representatives yesterday asked the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to extend the deadline for use of the old naira notes by at least six months, since the new notes were not readily available.
It also insisted that chief executive officers of banks in the country must appear before the ad hoc committee set up by the House to investigate reasons for the scarcity of the new notes.
According to the lower legislative chamber, both the old and new notes can be in use till June, in line with the CBN Act.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, who made the call after a briefing by the ad hoc committee, led by the House leader, Ado Doguwa, to resolve issues around the new naira notes, said the extension had become necessary, in view of the scarcity of the new notes in commercial banks.
He said: “The House of Representatives recognizes the Central Bank of Nigeria’s, CBN, authority to determine the country’s legal tender and to recall currency with reasonable notice, subject to the approval of the President.
The House is also aware that Section 20 (3) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act mandates the CBN to redeem the face value of the recalled currency upon demand, even after the expiration of the notice of recall.
“Notwithstanding the deadline imposed by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, this House will see to it that this provision of the law is honoured in full.
“Let me explain that again. The Central Bank Act under section 20 allows the Central Bank to change the legal tender. But it also says that after the expiration date, such naira note changed will no longer be legal tender.
‘’But it says that 2, 3 to 5 months after, even in June, any old notes presented to the banks shall be redeemed by the banks. That point needs to be made to the Central Bank and to the public. It has not been made. It’s a provision of law.”