Chairman House Committee on Banking and Currency, Sir Jones Onyereri
By Ernest Chinwo
The House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency has said it is not happy with the volume of dirty naira notes in circulation.
The committee said it had observed that while the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) had been printing new notes, there were no new notes in circulation in the country.
Chairman of the committee, Sir Jones Onyereri, expressed the concern when he led other members of the committee on an oversight function to the Port Harcourt branch of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the weekend.
“We are very worried. We went to the NSPMC and the truth is that they keep printing new notes but we do not see this in circulation. We are worried,” he said.
He said the matter needed to be addressed as the quality of naira notes in circulation in the country did not portray a good image for the CBN and the country at large.
Onyereri said the committee decided to visit branches of the CBN to see the operations of the apex bank and ensure that it was well prepared to serve the needs of the country.
He also expressed surprise that key departments of the bank were complaining of being under staffed when millions of Nigerians were seeking for employment and said the committee would take up the issue to ensure that the bank was living up to its mandate.
On the issue of the introduction of new N5,000 notes, Onyereri said the issue had been foreclosed as the CBN had not made any statements about the new currency notes.
“We put a stop to the introduction of N5000 notes. For now, no going back on it. The Central Bank has not said anything about it. So until then, until new information is available to the National Assembly, the matter is closed,” he said.
The Port Harcourt Branch Controller of CBN, Mr. Kennet Effa, had in his address said the treasury and other departments of the branch did not have enough manpower to carry out its duties.
He said the branch was also having challenges in getting adequate police security for its operations because of competing demands by international oil companies operating in Rivers State.
He also listed ageing fleet of bullion vans as a major challenge to the operations of the branch but said the branch had no mandate to procure such items as they were usually purchased centrally and distributed to the branches.
On the dirty naira notes in circulation, Effa explained that what the NSPMC supplies to the CBN was not enough to ensure clean notes in circulation.
He also added that many commercial banks were not ready to follow the procedures and make the necessary deposits to collect new currency notes from the CBN.
He also said some members of the public were contributing to the dearth of new notes in circulation as they refused to spend any new notes that they collect from the banks, instead preferring to keep them in their houses.