The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has said commercial banks must accept the old Naira notes even after the expiration of the 10 February deadline.
Mr Emefiele announced this on Tuesday while appearing before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee looking into the implementation of the policy.
The CBN Governor said he agrees with section 20(3) of the CBN Act, which provides that commercial banks must accept old notes after a deadline.
Section 20 (3) of the Act says: “Notwithstanding Sub-sections (1) and (2) of this section, the Bank shall have power, if directed to do so by the President and after giving reasonable notice in that behalf, to call in any of its notes or coins on payment of the face value thereof and any note or coin with respect to which a notice has been given under this Sub-section, shall, on the expiration of the notice, cease to be legal tender, but, subject to section 22 of this Act, shall be redeemed by the Bank upon demand.”
Mr Emefiele said commercial banks must accept the money even after the 10 February deadline.
Although Mr Emefiele had on Sunday announced 17 February as the “grace period” for the Nigerians to deposit the money, the lawmakers are insisting that it must be months, not days.
Nobody will lose money—Emefiele
Mr Emefiele further assured the lawmakers that Nigerians will not lose their cash due to the new policy. He explained that the CBN is taking several measures to ensure proper circulation of the new cash.
“We deployed all our staff, we effectively shut down Abuja, shut down Lagos. We said all staff, go to your locality.
“In the last three and half weeks, they have been in villages they take cash, even when the banks were lackadaisical about it. They take cash from the CBN and do cash exchange for everybody. They do five million naira cash lodgement back to the CBN,” he said.
He added that the CBN will work with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU).
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“We saw a few failings on the part of the banks, and we have appealed to EFCC, ICPC, and NFIU. They are currently working with our officials nationwide. We have achieved over 75 per cent,” he said.
Mr Emefiele did not answer any of the questions put to him by the lawmakers. Rather, he promised to put them under consideration.
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