The Senate has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to urgently extend the withdrawal date of old currency notes from Jan. 31, 2023 to June 31.
The upper chamber’s resolution was sequel to a point of order raised by Sen. Mohammed Ndume (APC-Borno) during Wednesday’s plenary.
Recalls that CBN had on Oct. 26, announced plans to redesign the 200, 500, and 1,000 naira notes.
Sequel to the announcement by the apex bank, President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the redesigned naira notes.
Raising Orders 41 and 51 of Senate Standing Rule, Ndume said that the call for extension of the date should be considered as a matter of urgent national importance in order to forestall imminent hardship on Nigerians.
Ndume said: “This senate notes that many Nigerian banks on Thursday, Dec. 15, opened their vaults to customers and depositors to exchange their old currency notes for the newly redesigned currency notes which has a stipulated deadline of Jan. 31.
“Some Nigerians are already envisaging long queues in the banking hall across the country as a result of people trying to get access to the new naira notes.
“The old notes are expected to be in circulation along the new ones until Jan. 31 when the old ones are expected to be phased out.
“It is expected that many Nigerian businesses will start to rid the old notes as soon as banks start paying redesigned notes to customers.”
The lawmaker also said that access to the new notes would be compounded by recent circular by the CBN which limited the amount of cash withdrawal by corporate entities to withdraw within certain period of time.
He said: “The withdrawal of old notes from circulation if not extended beyond Jan. 31, many Nigerians will be thrown into hardship and to avoid the repeat of 1984 experience withdrawal of old notes.”
Contributing, Sen. Adamu Aliero (PDP-Kebbi) said that it was true that in rural areas, people were not even aware that there was going to be currency change.
“So this motion is very apt and timely. If we insist on the date given by CBN, it will cause a lot of hardship for our rural dwellers.
“Majority of our people live in rural areas where there are no banks and PoS. It is appropriate we extend the time as suggested in the motion,” Aliero said.