Abuja – A mandate was on Tuesday given by the Senate in plenary to its Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions to investigate why lower currency denominations are scarce in the country.
The Senate in giving the directive, observed that the scarce denominations were critical to the economic development of the country particularly as the nation just exited recession.
This resolution followed its consideration and adoption of a motion sponsored by Senator Peter Nwaobosi entitled, “Scarcity of lower denomination currency notes”.
In his presentation, Nwaobosi said most commercial banks explained away that they were no longer circulating the lower denominations because the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had ceased to supply them.
The lawmaker noted with concern that for the past one year, the CBN did not award contract for the printing of the lower currency notes.
He further said, “the lower denominations were printed and procured outside the country with the attendant economic and security implications.”
However, CBN was asked to introduce the coins as an alternative to the lower notes for it was said to be more sustainable and have longer shelf life than currency notes.
Nwaoboshi said: “Scarcity of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 Naira notes poses a severe threat to the economy of the nation, which is just recovering from recession, as it is worsening inflationary trends, with attendant consequences.”
Quoting media reports on the issue, he expressed worries that the lower denominations were printed and procured outside the country with the attendant economic and security implications.
In his contribution, Senator Albert Bassey Akpan, said the CBN was saddled with the responsibility of printing new currency notes to the Nigerian public but noted: “hardly will anybody see new currencies in the country recently.”
He added that the scarcity of lower denominations had been affecting business mostly small-scale entrepreneurs and stressed the need to protect the nation’s legal tender and the economy generally.
Also, Senator Sam Anyanwu lamented that the scarcity of lower denominations like N5, N10, N20 and N50 in the country was causing pains to the people in the rural areas and called on the National Assembly to intervene in rescuing the situation.
The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, who presided at the plenary, said the CBN needed to concentrate on the printing of lower denominations as a more sustainable measure of exchange and business transaction in the country.
He pointed out that developed countries focused more on lower denominations than the higher ones, citing example of the United Kingdom where the highest currency in circulation most of the time is 50 pounds.
The post Senate Probes Scarcity Of Lower Naira Denominations appeared first on Independent Newspapers Nigeria.
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Author: Rotimi Akinwumi