By Okey Ndiribe and Emman Ovuakporie
ABUJA-MEMBERS of the House of Representatives Thursday moved to ban the use of foreign currencies in local and domestic transactions in Nigeria.
This was sequel to a motion brought to the floor of the House by Hon Nadu Karibe, representing Bayelsa state.
Karibe who led the debate had argued that “every country has its currency which serves as a means of exchange, a symbol of identity, a source of pride and a sign of independence and economic stability. ”
He also observed that “without equivocation, the Naira and the only means of exchange for local and and domestic transactions in Nigeria. ”
“There is a growing trend in the use of foreign currencies especially the US Dollar for payments of school fees, hotel bills, real estate, rent and purchase in bars, night clubs, luxury good shops, in Nigeria. ”
He further argued that “this trend has led to t’he high demand of these foreign currencies especially the US Dollars in Nigeria. ”
T’he Presiding Officer Hon Aminu Tambuwal at this juncture asked members to make their contributions.
In his contribution, Hon Warman Ogoriba said”I was in South Africa where I wanted to pay my hotel bills in Dollars and it was rejected. ”
“Honestly I was pleasantly surprised because here Nigerians freely use the Dollar. ”
“I urge members to support the motion and the CBN to ban the use of foreign currencies in local transactions. ” .
Speaking in t’he same vein, Hon Buba Jibrin representing Kogi State said”in my opinion this motion is very timely. ”
“In foreign lands we are made to change Dollars into local currencies using our passport as any identification mark. ”
“But here in Nigeria even in our shopping malls Dollars are freely used that is wrong. ”
“It is only the high and mighty that spends Dollars the way they like. ”
Speaking against the motion, Hon Aminu Sulayman said”I see this motion as a glorified one as only inconsequential number of Nigerians use the Dollar in Nigeria. ”
“This matter should be left for the apprpriate authirity to handle or the motion should be thrown. out through the window. ”
The presiding officer, the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal quickly pointed out to Sulayman that there was no window in the chamber.
Also in his contribution, Hon Ali Madaki representing Kano said”if Nigeria is really serious and they want investors we need to use Dollars. ”
“If we look at Dubai today Dollars are openly used and just in the 1970s they came here to borrow money from us. ”
“They wanted to borrow $10million but the then Obasanjo administration was told the place was a desert but look at Dubai today is it not better than Nigeria.”
“We need imvestors to grow our economy. ”
Hon 0gbuefi Ozomgbachi however in his contribution said”there is an existing Act of Parliament that forbids Nigerians from using foreign currency for marketing purposes. ”
But while rounding up the debate Hon Karibe swayed this in his support when he said “this motion is not against the sale of foreign currencies what is against is its usage in local and domestic transactions in Nigeria. ”
This attracted a loud ovation from members and when the Speaker put it to a voice vote it was unanimously adopted.