… As Emefiele, again, shuns Reps
The Federal Government is putting all measures in place to stop cash withdrawals from federal, states and local governments accounts, Director/CEO of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU), Modibbo Tukur has said.
He said the policy had been automatically activated because of the consistent devaluation of the naira and the introduction of a new naira policy, Section 1 of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act.
He lamented that most cash withdrawals from government accounts, including payments for estacodes, were often in excess of the cash withdrawal limits provided by the Money Laundering Act. This, he said, exposed innocent public servants to being liable to imprisonment.
Chief Media Analyst for NFIU, Ahmed Dikko, quoted Tukur as stating this at a parley with the Chairman of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Mahmud Yakubu.
He said the NFIU was already developing an advisory to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, all governors and local government council chairmen to direct all public servants to open domiciliary and naira accounts ahead of the commencement of the policy which had become compulsory by law.
Tukur said governors and council chairmen would need to organise training for market men and women on how to use ATM and POS services.
He refuted news making the rounds that the NFIU would block Federal Government Accounts as from January 2023.
Meanwhile, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, yesterday, failed to appear before the House of Representatives for the second consecutive time, over issues bordering on the newly introduced cash withdrawal limit.
Emefiele, in a letter to the Clerk of the House, Danzaria Yahaya, said he was unable to appear because of an official engagement outside the country.
The CBN boss, who was originally scheduled to appear before the House last Thursday, had said he could not appear before the lawmakers as he was abroad with President Muhammadu Buhari.
After Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila had finished reading the CBN governor’s letter, Chairman, House Committee on Navy, Yusuf Gadgi, expressed reservations over the failure of Emefiele to appear before the parliament for the second time.
“We will not tolerate further excuses in terms of non-appearance before the House,” said Gadgi.
He said the parliament was the embodiment of the Nigerian people and it was imperative for the CBN boss to appear before it.
However, Gbajabiamila explained that Emefiele had travelled out of the country before the first summon by the House and implored the lawmakers to give him another opportunity to appear in person or send a representative. The House, however, gave Emefiele two days to appear before it.
Minority Leader, Ndudi Elumelu, explained to the House that should the CBN governor decide not to appear before the House on Thursday, when the lawmakers have scheduled to go on Christmas and New Year break, their resolution on suspension of the policy still stands.
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 pegged the maximum cash withdrawal by individual per week at N100,000, and N500,000 for corporate organisations. It also fixed the maximum daily limit for individuals at N20,000, effective from January 9, 2023.
Regardless, lawmakers, while debating a motion on the propriety of the new cashless policy, had argued that the policy if allowed to stand would strangulate the economy and impose hardship on the masses.
The lawmakers alleged that contrary to Section 8(4)(5) of the CBN Act, which mandates the apex bank to brief the National Assembly on monetary policies, at intervals, Emefiele had kept the parliament in the dark on major policies by the CBN.
However, the CBN governor, in a letter to the House, on Thursday, informed the lawmakers that he was part of President Muhammadu Buhari’s delegation to the Washington DC, USA and would not be available to answer their query