The leadership of the National Assembly is expected to meet with President Muhammadu Buhari with a view to address the crisis trailing the implementation/deadline of the new cash withdrawal limit policy and cash swap in policy.
The Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila who disclosed this at the end of the Thursday plenary, also vowed that the House will on resumption of plenary next Tuesday, invoke the provisions of Section 89 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to compel the appearance of the CBN officials before the House, in line with its resolution.
The Speaker said: “As we said earlier this morning, I am constraint and will restrain myself, on Tuesday when we resume to invoke the provisions of Section 89 of the Constitution.
“Because you remember that the summon of the CBN simply on a motion to clarify a gap to know where the problem lies, whereas on one line bankers are saying that they don’t have sufficient new notes to dispense to the public. On the other hand, the regulator CBN is saying that yes they do and they have given out enough notes to dispense to the public.
“Somewhere in there lies the truth and what we sought to look at is what to do about it and how can we get the money to the public.
President has been very clear, the President gave his approval based on what he knows and what he’s been told. We all know the President to be a man of the people, he gave his approval based on what he has been told.
But what we ae saying or what the motion is saying is that after the President’s approval how does the money gets to the people. The money is not getting to the people and that’s why we sought and that’s exactly what we are going to do. So, on Tuesday, like I said earlier, this House will follow its proper procedure and invoke the provisions of section 89 to compel the presence of the CBN and its Directors.”
In his intervention, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Idris Wase lamented that on Wednesday almost every shop in Kano State was closed because they do not want to take the risk of collecting the old currency and at the ens of the day in order to avoid rejection of the old notes as legal tender.
He added that similar situation is happening in several locations including Wase Local Government where only one bank operates, adding that the next community was more than 40 kilometers where cow traders will have no opportunity to access banking services.
While noting that the policy was good on the surface, he however maintained that the short period for the implementation has caused major setbacks to the economic activities of millions of Nigerians.
“I believe there is need for the leadership to go a step further, tht it will be good for the leadership to make a presentation to Mr. President to see reasons alongside what we are pursuing with the CBN Governor,” he urged.
Hon. Wase who noted his Constituents were faced with the menace of banditry, where “money paid to bandits in Wase but the account was traced to somebody in Katsina State.
According to him, among the bandits arrested in the bush, about N60 million and N70 million was recovered from some of the bandits, hence noted that in solving one problem, caution should be exercise so as not to create another problem.
Meanwhile, Operators of Deposit Money Banks across the country who converged at the National Assembly complex, Abuja, expressed readiness to align with the resolution of the House of Representatives on the new cash policy, just as they took turn to give details of the insufficient disbursement of new naira notes from the CBN.
Representatives of the banks who spoke during the fact-finding hearing held at the instance of the Ad-hoc Committee chaired by Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, disclosed that between 10% and 70% of the old notes remitted to the apex bank, was released to the banks.
On her part, representative of Access Bank, Hadiza Amburza said “We are paying put as much as we. We are collecting the money and loading them at the ATM as quickly as we get them. Unfortunately, we are not getting them quickly. We have gotten about 10 percent of the total money. That’s is challenge that we have. We are doing the best we can up until the deadline.”
Also, the representative of Lotus Bank, Mohammed Abdul said: “On the issue, we have been receiving the new notes and returning the old notes. However in the last few weeks, it’s been very insufficient what we are receiving. We received the average of N40 million weekly for our bank in Abuja.”
For Sterling Bank, its representative, Orlando Umoren said “Looking at the issue on the ground, CBN presents allocations to banks, whether or not this allocation is sufficient is a different ballgame. As I speak with you, all our ATMs are dispensing. Allocations are shared. What we received fluntuates. We received a minimum of N150 million to be shared. In Kaduna, N150 million, in Kano, we received N100 million to be shared amongst the branches in the metropolis. They are being fed in the ATM only and not to be given to the customers across the counter. In Abuja here, what we are given is about 80 percent. In Kano, it is less than 10. What we get in return is nothing comparable… The reason why the new naira note is not coming. It is in the furtherance of the cashless policy. The banks are still under pressure to ensure that they met the deadline.”
Similar Uzza of Guaranty Trust Bank said “We collect old note and distribute new notes. We have been doing that. In terms of numbers, I can give you. We collected more that 60 percent of what we sent. Across the country, we collected about 60 percent about two days ago of what we sent. We won’t collect as much as we deposited because of the cashless policy. We have collected more than 60 of the new notes. But it varies from town to town.”
On her part, Ecobank representative, Rita Etomi-Ademola said: “What I can say is that 255 branches we have, have been collecting the notes and feeding the ATMs. I may not have the details here because I don’t want to give wrong figures.”
Also speaking, Wema Bank’s Head of Branch Services, said “the engagement is ongoing. CBN is giving us allocation. I may not be able to avail the House the figures.”
On his part, the representative of the United Bank for Africa, UBA said “what we are doing right now is to load all the new notes. As regards the allocation, the figure is about 70 percent and I can assure that we collect money from the CBN everyday. As we collect, we load it. We collect the old notes and send to CBN. That is still ongoing.”
In the same vein, SunTrust’s representatuve, Mr. Femi Bamgboye said: “we collected about 80 percent of the new notes. We get about 100 million of the new notes.”
Also speaking, Heritage Bank’s Regional Executive, Mr. Oniko Daniel,said: “If you load a cartridge which is about 8 million, in less than 2 hours that 8 million is finished. It must be understood. People want to deposit N10 million and want to collect N10 million, It is not possible.
“CBN is doing cash swap in remote areas. The public needs to know the guidelines and what the CBN is saying. CBN guideline is more or less a rule to the commercial banks,” he said.
In his presentation, Fidelity Bank’s representative, Mr. Hassan Umar said: “We do receive about 60 percent of what we deposited with the Central Bank in terms of the new notes.”
In his intervention, Hon. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta alleged that there may be an economic sabotage.
“For every money printed, there is a value for it. If at the end of January, the new notes are not accepted, don’t you think it’s an economic sabotage? Operators should let us know,” he asked.
However, the bankers however sidestepped the question for commitment.
One of the Banks’ representatives however said “Mr. Chairman and members of the committee that is putting us on the spot. Nigeria people have spoken and we have seen you are the representatives of the Nigerian people, Mr. chairman.
“You are in a better position to say whether this is fair to the Nigerians otherwise for this exercise to stop on the 31st and you have said it.
“So, our opinion doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, Mr. Chairman,” the representative said.