From IHEANACHO NWOSU, Abuja
The House of Representatives yesterday moved against the use of foreign currencies in local and domestic transactions in Nigeria. The move by the lawmakers followed a motion sponsored by Nadu Karibe, representing Bayelsa State. Arguing on why transaction with foreign currencies in Nigeria should stop Karibe while leading the debate said: “Every country has its currency which serves as a means of exchange, a symbol of identity, a source of pride and a sign of independence and economic stability.
“Without equivocation, the naira is the only means of exchange for local and domestic transactions in Nigeria. “There is a growing trend in the use of foreign currencies especially the US dollar for payments of school fees, hotel bills, real estate, rent and purchase in bars, night clubs, luxury good shops, in Nigeria.” “This trend, he said, “has led to the high demand of these foreign currencies especially the US dollars in Nigeria.” The Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal urged more members to contribute to the debate.
Sharing his experience in South Africa, Warman Ogoriba said: “I was in South Africa where I wanted to pay my hotel bills in dollars and it was rejected. “Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised because here in Nigerians, we freely use the dollar. “I urge members to support the motion and the Central Bank Nigeria to ban the use of foreign currencies in local transactions.”
Speaking in the same vein, Buba Jibrin representing Kogi State said the motion wa very timely. “In foreign lands we are made to change dollars into local currencies using our passport as any identification mark. “But here in Nigeria even in our shopping malls dollars are freely used that is wrong.”
However, Aminu Sulayman moved against the motion. He said: “I see this motion as a glorified one as only inconsequential number of Nigerians use the dollar in Nigeria. “This matter should be left for the appropriate authority to handle or the motion should be thrown out through the window.” Tambuwal reminded the lawmaker that there was no window in the chamber” While rounding up the debate, Karibe said the motion was not against the sale of foreign currencies but against its usage in local and domestic transactions in Nigeria.
This attracted a loud ovation from members and when the speaker put it to a voice vote, it was unanimously adopted. . In his contribution, Ali Madaki representing Kano said: “If Nigeria is really serious and they want investors we need to use dollars. “If we look at Dubai today, dollars are openly used and just in the 1970s they came here to borrow money from us. “They wanted to borrow $10 million but the then Obasanjo administration was told the place was a desert but look at Dubai today is it not better than Nigeria.
We need investors to grow our economy.” Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi in his contribution said: “There is an existing Act of Parliament that forbids Nigerians from using foreign currency for marketing purposes.”