A member of the House of Representatives, Mark Gbillah has described as draconian, the cash withdrawal limits of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The lawmaker also said the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele has been taking actions beyond his constitutional mandate.
“We have not heard from the CBN governor, this is a draconian way with which it was implemented,” he said on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Thursday.
Gbillah, a Labour Party (LP) member, represents the Gwer East/Gwer West federal constituency of Benue State in the green chamber.
Earlier on Thursday, he raised a point of order in the lower legislative chamber for the apex bank to halt the implementation of the new cash withdrawal policy slated for January 9, 2023 and his colleagues unanimously directed the CBN to suspend the policy.
The lawmaker, during a live appearance on Channels Television on Thursday evening, said the policy by the CBN is not to the advantage of Nigerians who transact daily with cash but “anti-people”.
According to Gbillah, Section 8, Subsection 4 of the CBN Act requires that Emefiele addresses the National Assembly twice a year on the bank’s monetary policies and plans.
He said Emefiele has been riding roughshod over the National Assembly and has not carried the legislative arm along in the operations of the bank.
The lawmaker said the National Assembly did not approve any budget for redesigning of three naira notes as the apex bank didn’t present any supplementary budget for that purpose.
He said the National Assembly didn’t approve the redesigned naira notes as well as the e-naira digital currency launched over a year ago.
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On whether the new cash withdrawal limits of the bank has any political angle, Gbillah said, “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 EFCC (Economic and Financial Crimes Commission).
“We do not expect him (Emefiele) to be carrying monetary policies ti be trying to control and curb issues that we have institutions to deal with. We think that he is going above and beyond his mandate. That is what some of us think.
“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 interest of the people 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,” he said.
The CBN on Wednesday pegged maximum daily withdrawals via Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and Point Of Sale (PoS) terminals at N20,000.
The CBN said the new policy is sequel to the launch of the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 notes by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 23, 2022.
It directed banks to ensure that weekly over-the-counter (OTC) cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities do not exceed N100,000 and N500,000, respectively.