National Assembly rejects proposed N5,000 note

The two chambers of the National Assembly, the Senate and the House of Representatives joined forces, yesterday, as they resumed from their two-month recess and asked President Goodluck Jonathan to stop the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi from going ahead with the restructuring of the Naira and the introduction of N5000 note, describing it as illegal and unconstitutional.

The plan by Mallam Sanusi to restructure the naira, as well as introduce N5,000 note received condemnations from both chambers of the National Assembly as the lawmakers described the proposal as anti-people.

The senators upon considering a motion moved by Senator Ita Enang, accused Sanusi of pursing International Monetary Fund, IMF, agenda which was set to impoverish Nigeria.

They also accused Sanusi of being arrogant, and a misleading public officer who claims to have monopoly of knowledge.

The Economic Team of President Jonathan was also lambasted for endorsing a policy the lawmakers described as unpopular and anti people.

Enang while leading debate on the motion observed that the CBN policy would lead to widespread corruption and untold economic problems for the nation.

He said: “The policy will create multiple economic problems like inflation, corruption and security challenges, and would erode the value of the nation’s currency and ruin the economy.

Senate President, David Mark, while condemning the policy, accused Sanusi of using hypothetical facts and figures to mislead Nigerians.

He said that the actions of the CBN governor and the argument that the policy would reduce inflation in the country were mere theory that is unacceptable to Nigerians, adding that government should be bold to reverse any unpopular policy.

He said: “The important thing is that if Nigerians say they do not want a particular policy at any given moment, there is no harm in government retracing its stand on the issue and I think that is the situation that we find ourselves.

“I have listened to the arguments from those who support it but those arguments are simply not convincing. They appear to me to be highly theoretical and technical in nature and they do not address any practical issue on ground.

“Any policy that does not address issues directly but just talking about indices we cannot verify for now, should wait. We have not reached that level where we are just talking of hypothetical cases all the time.

“I think the disadvantages of the N5,000 note at the moment far outweigh not introducing it and on balance, we should not go for it. And also, from the contributions on the floor, we are all in support of the fact that the timing is wrong and the policy is unnecessary at the moment and the arguments being advanced are not convincing and there is no urgent need for it to take place now.

“There is no ambiguity on our stand on the issue. I am not sure that Sanusi is aware of the Constitution; if he was, he would make reference to us before addressing the issue.”