Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Lawmakers plot against Sanusi’s N5000 note

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Members of the National stand headstrong against the CBN’s currency reform.

A forceful motion from the two arms of the National Assembly will seek to halt the proposed currency reforms aimed at introducing coins and a five thousand naira note, federal lawmakers said Monday.

The lawmakers warned that resolutions emanating from both the upper and lower house will demand a discontinuation of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s policy which is backed by the federal government. This gives an indication that the planned reform may further strain an already frosty relationship between the legislature and the executive.

The Senate and the House of Representatives will resume on Tuesday from more than two-month recess, a troubling period that coincided with some of the nation’s most disquieting events in 2012, from alarming insecurity to flooding to fuel scarcity and the currency furor.

Chairman senate committee on Business and Rules, Ita Enang, told PREMIUM TIMES that the senate’s early sessions from Tuesday will “urgently” address those national exigencies that arose during its absence.

“We will look at the all the urgent issues that affected while we were away,” Mr. Enang said on Monday. “We will treat those issues very urgently and then continue with the legislative agenda of the senate.”

Mr. Enang, however, would not be categorical about the senate’s plan of action on the currency controversy. But other lawmakers who asked not be quoted, said the two chambers are preparing the motions that will be debated on the subject on Tuesday.

Many lawmakers have in the past criticized the currency plan championed by the CBN governor, Lamido Sanusi, which will see N5, N10, N20 and N50 converted to coins while a N5000 note will be introduced.

In previous interviews, Mr. Enang, said the plan will serve the interest of foreign organizations like the World Bank, and has the capacity to undermine the Goodluck Jonathan administration.

The Federal Government has firmly rejected arguments the new measures will usher in inflation and hurt small scale businesses, and announced last week the decision was irrevocable.

The matter will only be amongst many touchy issues to be considered by the National Assembly as it resumes. The contentious Petroleum Industry Bill is also lined up for attention as some lawmakers particularly from the Northern part of the country are reportedly bent on foiling the passage of the bill.

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