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Addressing the growing discontent, rumblings over CBN’s Naira redesign policy

Naira Denominations

*Cross-sections of Nigerian consumers, leaders acknowledge the need for a cashless policy ultimately, but they query the Central Bank of Nigeria over the timing of the new Naira notes project reportedly causing disruptions, sufferings and resentment among the populace

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

The Federal Government’s monetary policy reading the Naira redesign had been met with swathes of criticisms in recent times.

ConsumerConnect reports the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Fourth Quarter (Q4) 2022, had hinted at the idea of redesigning N200, N500 and N1000 notes respectively.

Redesigned Naira notes 

The Bankers’ Bank succeeded in getting through the process of redesign, production, and eventual launch of the new currency denominations by President Muhammadu Buhari November 2022, weeks ahead of the December 15 previously planned for the launch in Abuja, FCT.

Subsequently, cross-sections of the populace, including the Federal lawmakers at the National Assembly (NASS), in Abuja, civil society groups, members of the legal profession, among others have stated their opinions on the current redesign project.

However, in view of the recent complaints over the relative scarcity of the new  Naira notes and validity of the use of old notes as legal tender after initial January 31 deadline, the CBN extended the deadline to February 10 this year.

Perhaps due to the overwhelming effects of the current scarcity of both new and old notes in the economy, consumers have expressed diverse reactions over their frustrations and far-reaching implications of the continued scarcity of the banknotes in the Nigerian economy.

Emefiele’s policies questionable, consumers are suffering, says Fani-Kayode

Commenting on the new Naira policy objective in an interview on a Channels TV programme Wednesday, February 1, 2023, Chief Femi Fani-Kayode, ex-Minister for Aviation and Spokesperson for the Tinubu-Shettima Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) said the Naira policies are questionable as consumers are suffering in the country.

Fani-Kayode also said that no matter what the so-called Aso Rock elements do, his candidate on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, would prevail and be elected Nigeria’s President.

The PCC Spokesman especially accused Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN, of nursing “a hidden agenda with the introduction of the Naira redesign policy.”

Chief Femi Fani-Kayode (l) and Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN

The erstwhile Minister for Aviation, stressing that Emefiele’s policies are questionable, said that they are an attempt to “create chaos in this country for everybody and to pave the way for something that is completely different.

“This is what I see going on and I must tell you that I find questionable the policies of the Governor of Central Bank as of today.

I don’t question the policies; I question the timing of the policies.”

Fani-Kayode also said: “People are suffering, people are going through hell, people can hardly achieve anything and I knew as far back as Christmas that this is what they were going to do.”

He further alleged that there are certain powers backing Emefiele, and that these powers have been responsible for his recent actions.

He stated: “Yes, we need a cashless policy ultimately but why is it being introduced at this critical time? It will lead to nothing but suffering, resentment and hatred of not just the ruling party,  but of every single member of the ruling class.

“And I am sitting on your programme today potently accusing the governor of central bank of having a hidden agenda.”

Legislators criticise CBN’s old Naira deadline extension

Earlier, the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on New Naira Re-design and Naira Swap Policy had said that it rejected the 10-day extension announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the exchange of old nair6a notes.

Hon. Ado Doguwa, Chairman of the Committee, in a statement issued Sunday, January 29 insisted that the position of the law on currency swap must be upheld.

Reacting to the extension by the CBN, Doguwa rejected the new February 10 deadline, insisting that the CBN must comply with Sections 20 sub 3, 4, and 5 of the CBN Act.

The Federal lawmaker said: “The 10-day extension for the exchange of the old Naira notes is not the solution; we as a legislative committee with a constitutional mandate of the house, would only accept clear compliance with section 20 sub 3, 4, and 5  of the CBN Act and nothing more.

“Nigeria as a developing economy and a nascent democracy must respect the principle of the Rule of Law.”

He also stated: “The House would go ahead to sign arrest warrant to compel the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, to appear before the committee.”

According to Doguwa, under his chairmanship, the House Committee would continue its work until it gets the demands of Nigerians addressed in accordance with the laws of the land.

The legislator described the extension as a mere political gimmick to further deceive Nigerian consumers and worsen their economic and social livelihood.

The Naira policy, he contended, is capable of frustrating the forthcoming General Elections as security agencies pay allowance Over the Counter to operatives on duty.

The CBN Governor has since appeared before the Committee.

Vote riggers pushing CBN for extension —Atiku Abubakar

As far as he is concerned with the redesigned Naira notes and CBN’s recent extension of deadline for use of old banknotes in the economy, former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar and Presidential Candidate of the opposition party, said anti-democratic elements pretending to be democrats are the ones ganging up against the CBN on the monetary policies.

Atiku urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to not consider postponing the old Naira regime after the expiration of the new February 10 deadline.

The former VeePee alleged in a statement issued by his campaign organisation, that the vote riggers are seeking to push the CBN to extend till after the February 25 and March 11 General Elections in order to achieve their aims.

He, however, urged the CBN to immediately review the measures it has put in place for the circulation of the new Naira notes to alleviate the hardship currently faced by Nigerian consumers, both in cities, towns and villages.

The former Vice-President also said: “The anti-democratic elements who are pretending to be democrats are the ones ganging up against the CBN because of the currency redesign and the cashless regime it seeks to enthrone.

“They have been scheming and lobbying day and night to frustrate the policy.

“Now, their new measure is to lobby for a second postponement of the deadline for the change of currency.

“I urge the CBN and the government to ignore their antics.

“The CBN should not succumb to the current pressure. There should be no further postponement on the new naira regime after the expiration of the February 10 deadline.”

Relief as CBN urges banks to begin OTC payments to consumers, but….

Meanwhile, Mr. Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN, Thursday, February 2, 2023, directed the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) to commence the payment of the redesigned Naira notes over the counter, subject to a maximum daily payout limit of N20,000.”

Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, Director, Corporate Communications at CBN, said this in a statement signed and issued Thursday, February 2, 2023.

Nwanisobi stated the latest development on the Naira policy is part of the Bank’s moves to ameliorate the plight of Nigerians, who are finding it hard to get the new notes in the economy.

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