The Senate has mandated its Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions and Finance, to investigate scarcity of lower denomination currency notes.
The Senate’s resolution followed a motion on “Scarcity of Lower Denomination Currency Notes”, sponsored by Sen. Peter Nwaoboshi (PDP-Delta), during Tuesday’s plenary.
He expressed concern that scarcity of N5, N10, N20, N50, N100 and N200 notes was posing a threat to the economy of the nation, which was just recovering from recession.
The lawmaker said that the nation’s currency was highly essential and critical in national development, adding that if mismanaged, the economy would be doomed, with adverse effect on the people and the nation.
He noted that banks in Nigeria no longer dispensed lower Naira denominations, with the excuse that they hardly received them from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Nwaoboshi said that if the situation was not remedied urgently, it may lead to total collapse of the economy.
Sen. Magnus Abe (APC-Rivers), said the lower denomination currencies remained legal tender, and that their scarcity was ” an indirect way of pushing up the prices of commodities.”
“In this matter, we must be careful not to place this country in such a position that the economy is no longer managed by those that we asked to manage it.
“When circumstances outside of our own dictates begin to determine the action that we take, then it means that we are not in control,” Abe said.
In his remarks, the Deputy President of the Senate, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, who presided, said one of the issues affecting lower denominations currencies was the haste with which higher denominations were introduced in Africa.
“It is not just a Nigerian thing. With the level of higher denominations, it affects the production and acceptance of the lower denominations.
“This is the area we need to look at. With this effort, the issue will be redressed,” Ekweremadu said.
The committee is expected to report back to the Senate within two weeks.