Senate summons Central Bank governor over naira depreciation

The Senate has passed a motion directing the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria-CBN, Godwin Emefiele, to appear before it to brief members on the state of the nation’s economy, especially the alarming naira depreciation.

The upper chamber gave the directive after an exhaustive debate on a motion moved by Senator Nazfiz Suleiman entitled: ‘The state of the economy: Naira depreciation and its implications’.

The senators also urged the Federal Government to step up efforts to diversify the nation’s economy to depend on taxation, agriculture, manufacturing, international tourism and solid mineral prospecting.

Suleiman had in his lead debate noted with serious concern the state of the nation’s economy as it affected the continuous depreciation of the naira and expressed worry that naira had depreciated in the last few months at a much faster rate than it appreciated over the last two years.

He argued that the depreciation was the consequence of the negative cash flow, which he said resulted from the downward trend of oil prices and worsened by speculations in the foreign exchange market.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said all powers must be deployed to defend the naira and that the influx of foreign items into the country must be adequately curtailed in a way that the activities of currency speculators would be brought under control.

Meanwhile, the apex bank has formally asked banks to stop accepting foreign currency cash deposit from customers.

Nigerian banks had since last week stopped accepting foreign currencies deposits from their customers who owned domiciliary accounts as part of measures to stop currency speculation and halt the decline in the value of the naira.

The measure succeeded in helping to marginally firm up the value of the naira against the dollar earlier in the week as owners of dollars who could not deposit them in banks sell them to Bureau De Change operators.

In a circular issued and signed by CBN’s Director, Trade and Exchange Department Olakanmi Gbadamosi, the apex bank said as part of its continued efforts to stop illicit financial flows in the nation’s banking industry and also in aligning with the Federal Government anti-money laundering efforts, it was prohibiting immediately, the acceptance of foreign currency cash deposit by banks in the country.



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