From Ndubuisi Orji, Abuja
Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, has said he will not be able to appear before the House of Representatives today to attend to queries on the new cash withdrawal policy, as he is attending to some health issues.
The apex bank in a letter to the House, yesterday, said Emefiele would, however, be represented by its Deputy Governor, Financial Systems Stability, Aisha Ahmed.
The letter read to members by Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila, during plenary said: “We refer to your letter of December 20, 2022 on the above subjects, inviting the CBN governor to appear in person before the House on Thursday, December 22. Regrettably, the governor is out of the country on official engagement as well as attending to some health challenges. He is, therefore, unavailable to attend this briefing.
“Given the urgency associated with the briefing, the Committee of Governors, led by Aisha Ahmed, deputy governor, Financial Systems Stability, is prepared to brief the House.”
However, the letter generated mixed reactions, as some of the lawmakers insisted the CBN boss must appear before them in person.
Nevertheless, Gbajabiamila said Emefiele could be represented.
“At this stage, we have to rise above certain things and not make it personal any more in the sense that there is a very critical issue, which is the issue of the new cash policy. If the governor has said he is out of the country, and in good faith is attending to health conditions, if that is the case, would it serve this House to continue to insist on his physical appearance?”
Gbajabiamila said it was not also in the interest of the country to wait till whenever Emefiele returned to the country given the importance of the issues attached to the new cashless policy.
“But if he has asked somebody who is fully equipped with all the facts, who can be questioned by the House, who is the deputy governor, Financial Systems Stability, which is what this is about, and who is coming with the Committee of Governors, I think the point has been made. Let’s hear from her. Because if we hear from her, we are hearing from the governor,” he said.
The House had summoned Emefiele to appear before it today in respect of the new cash withdrawal policy introduced by the apex bank recently, after he failed to respond to its summon to brief the House last Tuesday.
Emefiele, who was originally scheduled to appear before the House last Thursday, had said he could not appear before parliament because he was away in Washington DC, US with President Muhammadu Buhari.
The House had penultimate week summoned the CBN governor to appear before it over the new cash withdrawal limit approved by the apex bank.
The CBN had pegged the maximum cash withdrawal by individual per week at N100,000 and N500,000 for corporate organisations and maximum daily limit for individuals at N20,000, effective from January 9, 2023.