The presidency may be heading for another showdown with the legislature over the approval granted to the CBN to go ahead with the introduction of N5000 notes even after the National Assembly has expressed reservation over the plan.
The Senate yesterday reiterated their opposition to the introduction of the N5,000 note by the CBN as expressed by its Committee on Banking, Currency and other Financial Institutions.
The position, according to Senate’s spokesman Enyinnaya Abaribe remains the measure should wait until proper consultation was made and the Senate was convinced that it would not have adverse effect on Nigerians.
“It would be recalled that the chairman of the committee on Banking, Senator Bassey Otu, complained that the committee was not consulted or briefed on the CBN’s plan to introduce the new note. In which case, the senate is not in the know and our position remains as expressed by the Banking Committee,” Senator Abaribe said.
The House of Representatives last week said it has summoned the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi to appear before its committee on Banking and Currency to explain the propriety of its plan to introduce N5000 notes.
Though the statement issued by the committee on Banking and Currency disclosing the intention of the lawmakers to probe the move last Wednesday did not give a specific date Sanusi is expected to appear, it outlined areas of concern to the committee such as cost of implementing the policy to government, the inflationary trend, devaluation implication and cashless policy derivative.
Chairman of the committee, Hon. Jones Chukwudi Onyereri, said: “The House Committee will invite the Management of the Central Bank in an effort for the Committee to know whether the Central Bank is still pursuing the cashless policy, and if they are, how does this highercurrency note compliment the cashless policy”.
He pointed out that the CBN did not communicate its plan to introduce the new note to the committee, adding that the intervention of the Lower House is to ensure that due process is followed and rule of law adhered to.
Querying the propriety or otherwise of the move, he said, “Whereas we fully respect the separation of powers enshrined in the Constitution and the Central Bank’s autonomy, we have a responsibility to the Nigerian people to engage the Executive branch on issues that may have a far reaching effect on the national economy, and affect the day to day lives of the ordinary Nigerian.
“As representatives of the people, with particular oversight responsibility over the banking industry, we have set up the processes to immediately address the matter. In doing so, we will rely strictly on the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Central Bank Nigeria Act of 2007 as amended, the Banking and Other Financial Institution Act, as well as other requisite legal and regulatory instruments.
“We will keep an open mind while engaging the Bank Management to have a full picture and understanding of the thinking at the Central Bank and the reasons for this action, we believe that at this time the most effective and prudent response for the Committee would be to get a full briefing on the Policy from the Central Bank after which we will take a position.
It is expected that since the House is still observing its annual recess till 17th of this month, the committee will communicate the date the CBN Governor is to appear as soon as it is able to form a quorum.