Lawmakers summon CBN governor over ban on foreign currency deposits

Godwin Emefieli, CBN Governor.

Godwin Emefieli, CBN Governor.

12 August 2015, Abuja – The House of Representatives on Tuesday summoned the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, to explain the recent policy directing commercial banks to reject foreign currency deposits.

This followed the unanimous adoption of a motion under Matters of Urgent Public Importance sponsored by Rep. Emmanuel Ekon (Akwa-Ibom, PDP).

Mr. Ekon said although the CBN Act of 2007 confers the bank with the power to devise suitable mechanism for the exchange of the Naira periodically, Nigerians need to understand the merits of the policy.

“Though the policy may have both short and long term economic benefits for the country, Nigerians do not have any explanation from the CBN on the merits or otherwise of the said policy.

“The apex bank has not created avenues to address the fears of parents wishing to remit money for their children’s education or manufacturers placing orders for goods abroad.

“The explanation of the said policy to members of this House by the Governor of the Central Bank will enable us to disseminate the information to our respective constituents,” Mr. Ekon said.

The lawmaker further explained that if the CBN fails to sensitise Nigerians, the policy might become counterproductive as it appeared to have been misunderstood already by the public.

“There are lots of panic within the economy as we speak.

“People don’t know what becomes of their businesses which largely depend on foreign exchange for transaction.

“Banks are crying, Bureau De-Change operators are crying and importers are also crying.

“There is need for the CBN to carry out adequate sensitisation of the public regarding this policy by way of explaining the policy and its benefits, otherwise, the nation’s economy may suffer for it.”

Also, Chris Azubogu (Anambra-PDP) said Nigerians needed to be properly informed and educated about the policy.

He said “when we get better explanations, people will know what it is all about.

“Also, bank customers will know the limit of borrowing and take into cognisance the need to prepare their minds for what they want to embark on,” Mr. Azubogu said.

The Deputy Whip of the House, Pally Iriase, also expressed his support for the motion.

He said “domiciliary account is one asset that a country that does not have a viable foreign exchange market uses to transact business abroad.

“We should be able to sit down with the CBN to find out what the CBN has done with this policy so we can make informed decisions,” Mr. Iriase said.

However, Obinna Chidoka’s (Anambra-PDP) , was ruled out of order in his submission that the CBN boss had already been summoned by the Senate on the same matter.

According to him, the motion is unnecessary as its concerns will be addressed when the CBN governor appears before the Senate which has already summoned him on the state of the economy.

The Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara, in his ruling, stressed the need for interaction with the bank’s management for the purpose of informing Nigerians.

He said “if you look at the last motion in the Senate, this is very different.

“As we speak, there is serious confusion out there.

“The reason for allowing the presentation of this motion is that we all have to be sensitised on what the CBN is doing.”

The motion was thereafter unanimously adopted by the House.

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