National Assembly orders CBN to increase ATM withdrawal limits for Nigerians
The House of Representatives has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to henceforth submit a weekly report on the apex bank’s release of the new naira notes to commercial banks across the country.
The House while giving the directive on Tuesday when the CBN governor appeared before its ad-hoc committee on the currency redesign and naira swap policy, said that the purpose is to enable the lawmakers to verify claims by the CEOs of the banks that the apex bank had not been releasing enough cash to them.
The lawmakers also directed the CBN to restore over-the-counter transactions by the banks and increase the Automated Teller Machine (ATM) cash withdrawal limits in order to fast-track the circulation of the new naira notes.
The House further directed Emefiele to ensure that the new naira notes are available across the country forthwith.
It had been reported that the House and the CBN agreed that there would no longer be a time limit to the validity of the old naira notes after the expiration of the February 10 deadline set by the apex bank.
The House said that with the agreement, it means that the face value of the old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes will continue to be redeemable in compliance with Section 20 (3) of the CBN Establishment Act, adding that in that case, commercial banks will continue to mop up the old naira notes after they cease to be legal tender on February 10 without a time limit.
“The ad-hoc committee of the House looking into the cashless policy and the naira swap timeframe will continue to monitor the operations of the CBN in this regard to ensure compliance with the decisions of the House.”
Emefiele, after failing to appear before the House of Representatives’ Alhassan Ado-Doguwa-led committee on two previous occasions, appeared before the lawmakers on Tuesday to brief the members of the House on the cashless policy and currency swap timeframe.
The House, which was presided over by the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, had waded into the naira redesign matter when it became imperative that the new naira notes were not available in sufficient quantity as the earlier January 31 deadline set by the CBN to withdraw them drew close.
Following Emefiele’s failure to appear before the lawmakers, the Speaker had threatened to issue a warrant of arrest on the apex bank governor.
However, following his appearance before the house on Tuesday, the lawmakers and the apex bank agreed that the face value of the old naira notes would continue to be redeemed beyond the new deadline of February 10 when they would have ceased to be legal tender.