The House of Representatives has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), to ensure commercial banks operating in the country use coins and Naira of lower denomination for transactions, stressing that they remain a legal tender.
At the plenary on Tuesday, the lawmaker from Bauchi State, Muda Lawal Umar, noted that Nigeria spent scarce resources to mint the currency but decried that it is not used to the fullest.
According to him, the refusal to use coins in Nigeria has significantly affected smooth financial transactions, and continues to spike inflation especially as Nigerians now bear the brunt of prices being summed up to the nearest Naira equivalent.
He said: “despite the huge budgetary sum that was expended by the federal government in the production of coins as part of the legal tender, the said coins seem to be extinct at the moment.”
The lawmaker said as a result of this, “the day to day business transactions of ordinary Nigerians have been significantly affected as the lack of coins and other lower denominations have resulted in prices being summed up to the nearest Naira equivalent, a situation that can best be described as inflation in economic terms.”
The CBN should reinforce the use of coins as a legal tender and ensure that banks comply with the use of coins to the fullest.
Umar also expressed concern “that while other countries make use of coins for their daily financial transactions, the Nigerian coins comprising 50 kobo, N1 and N2 have not been fully utilised in that regard [and] injecting low denominations and coins into the economy will go a long way in curbing price inflation and stabilizing the economy.”
He reminded the House that on February 28, 2007, as part of the economic reforms under the former Governor of the CBN, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, N50, N20, N10 and N5 banknotes were reissued with new designs as well as the coining of N1 and 50 kobo, while a new N2 coin was introduced.
The congressman, therefore, urged the CBN “to reinforce the use of coins as a legal tender and ensure that banks comply with the use of coins to the fullest.”
After leading the debate with contributions from other members, the motion received a unanimous voice vote.