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Senate quizzes two CBN deputy governors over cash withdrawal limit

  • Politics

Two deputy governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Aishah Ahmed and Edward Adamu, have been questioned by the Senate Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions over the apex bank’s cash withdrawal policy.

Ripples Nigeria had previously reported that the central bank reviewed the cash withdrawal policy last week, directing all banks to reduce cash withdrawal over the counter to N100,000 for individuals, and N500,000 for businesses.

The CBN also stated that daily withdrawals on Point of Sale (PoS) and Auto Teller Machine should be limited to N20,000. This directive to banks has sparked mixed reactions among Nigerians.

Nigeria’s House of Representatives had urged the CBN to suspend the directive which was expected to become effective on January 9, 2023, but CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, said the decision will not be halted, as he had President Muhammadu Buhari’s support.

On Tuesday, a member of the committee on Banking and Financial Institutions, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, told fellow lawmakers at the plenary session that Ahmed and Adamu were quizzed to explain the reason for the policy.

Senate committee demands evidence

According to Adetunmbi, the committee requested further evidence from the two deputy governors after they provided elaborate explanations.

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It was gathered that more evidence was demanded to enable the committee to fully understand the issue behind this policy, “This meeting took place on Thursday last week, the two candidates came for clearance, and the issues were thoroughly asked.

“Especially in the open address by the chairman, he specifically reported the request that the two deputy governors currently serving and seeking the appointment should elaborate and explain the rationale behind this policy in view of the massive public reactions to that policy.”

Also, Adetunmbi said, “The deputy governors gave very elaborate explanations and the committee also requested for further evidence in terms of documented reports that will enable the committee to fully understand the issue behind this policy and be able to brief the plenary appropriately.”

Committee postpones report on cash withdrawal

The committee on Banking and Financial Institutions was expected to submit a report on the cash withdrawal policy on Tuesday, however, the chairman, Senator Uba Sani, was not around.

Sani, who is the gubernatorial candidate of All Progressive Congress (APC) in Kaduna state, was absent due to the APC rally holding in Kaduna State on Tuesday.

As a result, he was not available to submit the report, and it was gathered that Sani would be present on Wednesday to brief his colleagues on the committee’s findings on the CBN cash withdrawal policy.

According to Adetunmbi, “Unfortunately, this report is not ready today because the chairman of this committee is busy on a political assignment in Kaduna. He had to receive important party officials in the presidential train and he has asked me to offer this explanation to the plenary that he is coming tomorrow to actually present the formal report of the findings of the committee.

“This is an apology from the committee that it is not able to take the report as directed last week,” Adetunmbi told the upper chambers.

Commenting on the failure to submit the report, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, said the lawmakers decided to hear from the CBN officials to determine the way forward. He added that Sani shouldn’t be expected at the chamber on Tuesday due to the APC rally.

“We decided that we have an engagement with CBN so that we’re able to hear from the horse’s mouth, and then go ahead and debate it or take whatever appropriate action we may need to take.

“In addition to what he said, the All Progressives Congress is today holding a zonal rally hosting the presidential candidate of the party in Kaduna, all the seven states, will be converging in Kaduna.

“And you know that our chairman of banking is the gubernatorial candidate of Kaduna state. And naturally, we shouldn’t expect him to be here at this time, because he needs to be there. But we also felt that we should hear from him.”