BY ALADE TASMA
Members of the Lagos State House of Assembly, on Tuesday, called for extension of the currency swap policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The House called on the CBN Governor to extend the deadline to June 2023, in support of the prayers by the National Assembly.
Moving the motion on the floor of the House, the representative of Shomolu constituency 01, Hon. Rotimi Olowo highlighted the challenges Nigerians have been facing and crisis it has generated across the country since CBN Governor came up with the currency swap. He stressed the policy has further worsen the living condition of the masses.
According to the lawmaker, the policy is anti-masses, adding that most entrepreneurs, SMEs, market women who are illiterates are more prominent in the economy of the country. Olowo disclosed that the POS that has offered employment to the teeming youths has been destroyed by this policy.
He further argued that the IT infrastructure in Nigeria is nothing to write home about. “In as much as we appreciate the rationale behind the policy which is capable of curbing corruption, the negative effect of the policy on the masses is frustrating. The only beneficiary of the policy is the elites, Olowo submitted.
Members who made submissions on the matter supported Hon. Olowo arguments on the policy which according to them, still generating crisis in the country despite the 10 days extension granted by the CBN. Members that contributed to the debate includes; Bisi Yusuf, Makinde, Meiranda, Oluwa, Kasunmu, Idumogu, Akande, Setonji and many others at the plenary. The lawmakers expressed concerns that the policy put together by the CBN Governor is not only frustrating but causing more pains than gains on the masses.
“Banks are selling the new naira notes to the highest bidder and they are making life miserable for the average Nigerians.
“We are angry because masses are directly affected by this policy. This is not the right time for this kind of policy and it is targeted at some people. It should vehemently be rejected.
“The present situation in the country is demoralising. This policy is affecting everybody. People are fighting at the ATM points just to get their monies. The policy is alien to us. There are some communities that do not have banking system. There are some communities that do not have internet facility. Some do not even have mobile phones. How can this policy work?” The lawmakers queried.
In his reaction to the debate, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Mudashiru Obasa commended his colleagues for their forthrightness and approach to issues concerning the masses.
“Our concern is the pain, anger and frustration which the policy has brought.
“The intention of the policy has been defeated. Before embarking on the policy, there should have been engagement and consultation with the people.
“We commend the National Assembly that intervened on the matter but we want to say that the 10 days extension will not be enough. We are calling on the National Assembly to ensure that the deadline is extended till June, 2023,” the Lagos chief lawmaker concluded.