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Senators Differ On Naira Note Redesign

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There were mixed reactions at the Nigerian Senate on Wednesday, about the proposed redesign of the Naira notes.

While some senators opposed the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria to redesign some Naira notes, arguing that it has no economic impact, others urged the upper chamber to let the apex bank go on with it.

The matter came up for deliberation when the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Banking, Insurance, and other Financial Institutions, Senator Uba Sani moved a motion on the CBN Naira note redesign policy.

Sani, APC Kaduna Central, while moving the motion, urged the Senate to provide legislative support for the policy, including accepting the January 31 deadline for compliance.

The different positions taken by the senators as they deliberated the motion created a somewhat rowdy session in the red chamber.

Some senators expressed reservations about the deadline of January 31, 2023, created by the CBN for the citizens to dispose of all old currency notes in their possession through bank deposits, saying the period was too short.

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It would be recalled that the CBN had last month announced its intention to redesign N200, N500, and N1,000 currency notes. The apex bank governor, Godwin Emefiele said the new Naira notes will be introduced into the system by December 15, 2022, while the old notes shall be removed from circulation latest by January 31, 2023.

Some of the senators who called for an extension of the deadline include Ali Ndume, Abiodun Olujimi, Betty Apiafi, Barau Jibrin, Chukwuka Utazi, and Orji Kalu.

Kalu specifically wanted the deadline to be extended to April 30, 2023, while they also invite the CBN governor to come and offer an explanation about the policy.

Ndume and Utazi argued that Nigerians in rural areas and those in places where insecurity has prevented many banks from operating might not be able to meet up with the deadline.

Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, however, said it was the prerogative of the CBN to redesign the Naira and put a deadline for compliance.

After the rowdy moment in the house, the senate passed a resolution to provide legislative support for the new policy and directed the committee on Banking and Financial Institutions to go on oversight to ensure that many Nigerians especially those in the rural areas are adequately informed about the new policy and that they should not be adversely affected in the process.

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