Reps threaten Emefiele with warrant of arrest over new naira notes
The House of Representatives has given Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emeifile, a last opportunity to appear before it to explain why there is still scarcity of redesigned naira notes at banks and automated teller machines across the country.
others who have failed to honour their invitations.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, expressed his anger over the refusal of the CBN Governor to attend the meeting with the ad-hoc committee led by the House Leader, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, on Wednesday which was later rescheduled for Thursday.
He said should the CBN governor and others fail to appear at the next meeting, he risked arrest by the police, threatening to issue a warrant of arrest.
But the CBN governor in a letter which was read on the floor of the House by the Speaker on Thursday explained that he would not be available for the meeting.
The speaker however said, “They were invited to give reasons for the ongoing failure to adequately disburse the redesigned naira notes before the expiration of the deadline of 31st January 2023, when the old notes will cease to be legal tender.
“The House further constituted an ad-hoc committee led by the Majority Leader, Rep. Alhassan Ado Doguwa, for this purpose. No official of the CBN appeared to respond to the summons by the House of Representatives. This is unacceptable.
“The Resolution of the House was predicated on information showing that the rollout of the redesigned naira notes has been an unmitigated failure. This failure has real and dire consequences on the ability of Nigerians to conduct business across the country.
“The refusal by the CBN to heed the invitation by the House of Representatives is evidence of a blatant disregard for the well-being of the Nigerian people who are their customers. It is also an insult to the authority and prerogatives of the people’s parliament.
“Therefore, I will, pursuant to the authority conferred by Section 89 (1)(d) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Order 19 (2)(1) of the Standing Orders of the House of Representatives, not to hesitate to issue a warrant to the Inspector General of the Nigeria Police Force to compel the attendance of the CBN or Managing Directors who fail, refuse or neglect to respond to the summons by the House of Representatives”.
The Ad-hoc committee on Wednesday agreed to reschedule the meeting with CBN and Banks Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) to Thursday after an earlier letter by the CBN which informed the committee that, the invitation letter was received late.
Chairman of the committee, House Leader, Alhassan Ado Doguwa, said they gave the CBN the benefit of the doubt and that on no condition should the CBN miss the rescheduled meeting.
CBN releases more cash, orders banks to open Saturday, Sunday
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says it has directed all commercial banks to open for operation on Saturdays and Sundays.
It also said more banknotes had been evacuated from its vaults to commercial banks across the country.
A statement by the spokesman for the CBN, Isa Abdulmumin, said the measures were part of coordinated efforts to ease the circulation of banknotes of various denominations.
It said a substantial amount of money, in various denominations, had been received by the commercial banks for onward circulation to their respective customers.
He said the CBN had directed all banks to load their automated teller machines (ATMs) as well as conduct physical operations in the banking halls through the weekends.
“Branches of commercial banks will operate on Saturdays and Sundays to attend to customers’ cash needs,” the statement added.
Abdulmumin said the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, would personally lead teams to monitor the level of compliance by the banks in various locations across the country.
He urged Nigerians to be patient as the current cash shortage would ease soon with the injection of more banknotes into circulation.
How N4.8tn annual fuel subsidy made Nigeria poorer – NNPC
Nigeria’s petrol subsidy regime has been “fuelling the vicious cycle of poverty” , the Nigerian National Petroleum Company (NNPC) Limited has said.
A total of 133 million Nigerians are said to be living in poverty.
Lawal Musa, Senior Business Advisor to Mele Kyari, group chief executive officer (GCEO) of NNPC, said the Federal Government spends as much as N4.8 trillion annually on petrol subsidy — at the expense of the wellbeing of Nigerians.
He stated this at a joint National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS)/Civil Society Organisations (CSOs).
In a presentation titled, “Petroleum Industry Act (PIA) and the Nigerian economy’’, he said the amount spent on petrol subsidy payments could deliver infrastructural projects to the citizens.
Musa said deregulation of petrol prices could deliver 500,000 new houses and skill up of 2 million Nigerian students, among others.
According to him, the amount spent on subsidy could provide 7,500 kilometers of road network at N400 million per kilometre and 37 well-equipped 120-bed tertiary health centres at N32 billion per hospital annually.
He added that the subsidy spend could deliver N12 trillion in four years to Nigeria, adding that the cost of petrol subsidy surpasses the direct benefits to the masses.
In addition, the NNPC GCEO adviser said deregulation of PMS prices could also provide additional 27,000 megawatts of electricity to Nigerians as well as build and equip 2,400 hospitals in 774 local government areas.
Nigeria is the largest producer of crude oil in Africa, possessing 28 percent of Africa’s reserve, with petroleum contributing significantly to the country’s economy,” he said.
“The benefits derived have over the years been eroded due to the amount paid on subsidy, a regime [that] has been fuelling the vicious circle (sic) of poverty in the country.”
Musa explained that petrol was sold at the lowest price in Nigeria, among most West African countries, in spite of the average cost of $2.7 per litre globally, which amounted to about N570 per litre.
He noted that verifiable petrol demand data is critical to national planning and energy security.
On his part, Garba Deen Muhammad, NNPC’s spokesperson, said the organisation was engaging with students as critical stakeholders in the new organisation, which he said belonged to over 200 million Nigerians — including the students.
Muhammad said the engagement, which would be done annually, was aimed at enlightening the students and CSOs on NNPC as a new entity, registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), under the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA).
Nigeria Air will commence operation before May 29 – FG
The Federal Government says the new national carrier, Nigeria Air, will commence operation before the end of the current administration on May 29.
Minister of Aviation, Hadi Sirika, disclosed this in Abuja on Thursday.
He spoke amid worry about a lingering court case instituted against the project by airline operators of Nigeria.
Sirika gave the assurances during the National Aviation Stakeholders Forum 2023.
He said the Federal Government was already taking measures to overcome the hurdles introduced by the indigenous airlines.
According to him, the project is 98 per cent completed.
“All of the road map items except, perhaps the airline, which in my opinion is at 98 per cent completion, and we will fly within the remaining two months by the grace of God,” the minister said.
“We will also finish the concessions. So, all those things we said we would do when we came in, we did them.”
The minister described as unfair the action of the local airlines, adding that the Buhari government had supported local airlines more than all previous governments.
He accused them of constituting a stumbling block to the actualisation of the national carrier expected to generate new jobs and better opportunities in the industry.
He said the Nigerian Aviation industry is the only one in the world where qualified pilots are without jobs.
He said 50 pilots had come to him complaining about their unemployment status, adding that the national carrier should be able to employ more pilots and create other job opportunities.
He said Ethiopian Airlines, the offered bidder for the national carrier, is highly competent and profitable enough to add value to the Nigerian aviation sector.
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