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The Senate on Friday screened the two newly re-appointed deputy governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria and backed down on the planned grilling of the officials on the cash withdrawal limit policy unveiled by the apex bank on Tuesday.
The Red chamber had on Wednesday at the plenary commissioned the committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions to get clarifications from the apex bank chiefs when screening them for their re-appointment.
Controversies have continued to trail the planned policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria to limit cash withdrawal for individuals to N100,000 and Corporate Bodies N500, 000 per week, the apex bank chiefs, however, told the Senate Committee that it was high time Nigeria embraced the policy.
Our correspondent observed that the senators simply asked for an explanation from the deputy governors without further probing into the policy’s details.
The Deputy Governor of CBN on Financial System Stability, Mrs Aishat Ahmad, explained that the policy was introduced in 2012 during former President Good luck Jonathan’s administration and extended to Abuja and six other states in 2013.
She told the committee that the cashless policy being fully implemented by CBN now is not new, as required steps in that direction, were taken in 2012 with Lagos State as a pilot scheme and Abuja and Six other states in 2013.
Ahmad added, “Though full implementation of the policy has not been carried out by CBN since then, its introduction has brought a lot of transformation in the banking and payment system.
“Distinguished Chairman of this committee and members, I’m happy for the opportunity to make presentations on the planned N100,000 withdrawal limit for individuals and N500, 000 for Corporate Bodies per week, beginning from 9th January 2023, in line with the cashless policy introduced in 2012.
“Based on information available to CBN, the time for full implementation of the policy with the proposed limit on cash withdrawals per week is now.”
She added, “The required infrastructure for its implementation in terms of financial access point system, mobile money, E-naira, etc, are available across the 774 local government councils in the country.
“All fears and worries being expressed by Nigerians about the planned limited cash withdrawal policy are seriously being taken care of as nobody or a section of Nigerians, will be left out.
“In the past, banking transactions in Nigeria were limited to Bank Branches alone as the only means, which has now expanded into multiple electronic platforms as well as a geometrical increase in the number of agents from 88,000 to 1.4 million.”
The CBN chief, however, said that the Apex bank is flexible and will be ready to accommodate opinions that won’t make the policy strenuous to any category of Nigerians during implementation.
After her presentation, the Committee chaired by Senator Uba Sani ( APC Kaduna Central), asked that the CBN chiefs ‘take a bow and go’ as moved by the Whip of the Senate who doubles as the deputy chairman of the committee, Senator Orji Kalu (APC, Abia North) and seconded by Senator Danjuma Goje (APC,Gombe Central).
Sani said, “With the presentation made by the Deputy Governor of CBN on Financial System Stability, Aisha Ahmad, on the planned limited cash withdrawal, required information on the merits of the policy has been given and will be communicated to the Senate in plenary through our report.
“The two Deputy Governors, having earlier been screened before serving their first tenures, need not to again as unanimously agreed by members of the Committee. They should therefore take a bow and go.”
Some of the senators present at the screening were Betty Apiafi,(PDP, Rivers West); Seriake Dickson(Bayelsa West), Uche Ekwenife,(PDP, Anambra West) Central); Yusuf Yusuf,( APC,Taraba Central); Ibrahim Danbaba(APC Sokoto South); Yakubu Oseni(Kogi Central); Istifanus Gyang, (Plataeu North); Bello Mandiya,(APC Katsina South); Sani Musa, (Niger East); Onyebuchi Ezenwa,(Imo East); Olubunmi Adetunmi, (Ekiti North) and Lawali Anka (Zamfara West)