Saturday, July 12, 2014

Reps ask CBN to stop trading in naira

The House of Representatives on Thursday blamed the growing trading in new naira notes on members of staff of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
In a resolution in Abuja, the House alleged that there was a cartel made up of bank workers, who exchange the new naira notes for gratifications and later resell them to members of the public.

The lawmakers accused the cartel of ensuring that new notes were not in circulation, a factor that explained the mutilated notes in the economy.
The House directed the CBN to stop the “bribe for new naira notes” by investigating the cartel and punishing the members of staff involved.

A member, who moved the motion on the matter, Mr. Isaac Osahon, informed the House that the new notes were being sold to people to be used for “spraying” at social events.
He said the trading in the naira was being done in breach of the extant Section 21 (4) of the CBN Act, which prohibits the hawking of naira notes and coins.
Osahon added that lower denomination notes like N5, N10, N20 and N50 were scarce in the country, thereby “creating an avenue for illegal currency hawkers to make brisk business of selling the naira notes.”

Giving further insight into how the cartel operates, the lawmaker stated that hawkers around Dei-Dei Junction in Abuja were charging N200 commission on every N1,000 sold, and for “every N2,000, they get no less than N400.”

Besides investigating the cartel, the motion asked the Nigeria Police and the Department of State Security to arrest and prosecute bank workers involved in the illegal transaction.
A member from Anambra State, Mrs. Uche Uwkwunife, informed the House that the act was common in the Lagos area, where residents “sprayed” notes at social gatherings.
Mr. Fort Dike called on the CBN to ensure that it tracked all new notes released to the public through commercial banks.

“The CBN is to blame for this problem. It is the CBN that issues new notes to the public. If the notes find their way into the wrong hands, we should blame the CBN. The central bank is culpable, the commercial banks are culpable; but CBN is the regulator,” he added.

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