The House of Representatives says it will consider poor Nigerians and the Nation’s inflation rate before endorsing the new currency denominations.By Ini Ekott
The House of Representatives on Wednesday said it will seek clarifications from the Central Bank governor, Sanusi Lamido, on how the proposed currency restructuring will affect the nation and the inflation rate before deciding whether or not to back the launch slated for next year.
The proposal, the latest in a string of controversial policies initiated by Mr. Sanusi, will see the introduction of N5000 note; the conversion of 20, 10, and 5 naira to coins; and a redesigning of the remaining denominations.
The plan stirred an outrage with the senate on Monday, and the senators ordered its suspension to allow for consultations.
Mr. Sanusi said the proposal has been approved by President Goodluck Jonathan. But the senate committee on banking and currency warned that the plan will not only hurt the economy, but the poor, who will be forced to buy at new prices which is certain to trail the new project.
The House of Representative’s banking committee said it is arranging a meeting with Mr. Sanusi to discuss the proposal.
“Unfortunately we are on vacation and we can’t take any legislative action now. But when we are able to get a few members of the committee, we can do something based on the urgency of the matter,” Chukwudi Jones, the committee chair said on Wednesday.
Mr. Jones said the meeting will consider in frank terms, the implication of the move on an economy which is already witnessing inflation. The committee will also consider the cost of printing and minting new currencies, the effect on the value of the naira and how the policy will be conform to the cashless economy earlier proposed by the CBN.
Mr. Jones denied that the committee had been informed of the plan ahead of time. He faulted CBN’s claim on Tuesday, that the bank had opened discussions with the lawmakers.
“Our primary concern is that the measure will not hurt the economy and will not affect the daily lives of the average Nigerian,” Mr. Jones told PREMIUM TIMES.
At a news briefing earlier, the committee chairman said the House was mindful of the CBN’s autonomy and will “keep an open mind while engaging the bank’s management to have a full picture and understanding of the thinking at the Central Bank and the reasons for this action.”
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