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House member: Godwin Emefiele going beyond CBN mandate

The governor of Nigeria's central bank, Mr Godwin Emefiele, explained on Friday that the country's headline inflation rate, which has risen from 15.60% in January to 20.77% in September, is in line with global trends.

House of Representatives member for Benue Gwer East/Gwer West, Mark Gbillah, has spoken out against the increased withdrawal restriction, calling it “very punitive” from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

This was discussed in an interview Gbillah gave to Channels Television on Thursday.

He claimed that CBN governor Godwin Emefiele had exceeded his authority’s scope.

He claimed it was implemented in a “draconian” fashion, and “we have not heard from the CBN governor.”

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) issued a directive on Tuesday requiring deposit money banks and other financial institutions to limit weekly ATM cash withdrawals by individuals and corporations to N100,000 and N500,000, respectively.

The legislator claimed that the CBN’s strategy was “anti-people” since it hurts ordinary Nigerians who need cash to perform everyday transactions.

Gbillah claims that the CBN Act mandates that Emefiele must address the National Assembly on the bank’s monetary policies and intentions twice yearly.

However, he said that Emefiele has been ignoring the national parliament and operating the bank independently from the legislative branch.

He added that the central bank had not presented a supplementary budget for the purpose of redesigning the three naira notes and that the national assembly had not approved any such budget.

In addition, he said, the eNaira digital currency, which debuted more than a year ago, still needs to be presented to the national legislature.

“There are allegations in that regard that this policy is intended to curb vote-buying, to curb the amount of money in circulation, but we do not expect the CBN to do the work of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),” Gbillah said in response to a question about whether the new cash withdrawal limits of the bank have any political angle.

“We do not expect him (Emefiele) to be carrying monetary policies; it is trying to control and curb issues that we have institutions to deal with. He is going above and beyond his mandate. That’s how some of us feel, at least.

“He didn’t brief anybody. Statutorily, he is supposed to (brief the national assembly). He is supposed to do so semi-annually.

“We have moved the motion for the suspension of the implementation because we do not believe it is in the people’s interest, and we want him to appear before us and explain to us why he has been going about the business of the CBN in this manner.”

On Thursday, Emefiele reassured Nigerians that the government’s withdrawal policy was not meant to impede daily life but to bolster the economy.

He added that the new cash withdrawal policy will not be rolled back but that withdrawal limits might be changed.

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