• I wasn’t consulted – Finance Minister

• We followed due process, exercise is 12 years overdue CBN insists

• Kidnappers will resort to dollars, other hard currencies – Sheikh Gumi


‘Seun Ibukun-Oni, Tayo Busayo


DAILY COURIER – President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday said that the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to launch new designs and replace high value Naira notes had his support and is convinced that the nation will gain a lot by doing so.


In a statement by the senior special assistant to the president, Garba Shehu on Sunday, October 20 reads in part; “Speaking in a Hausa radio interview with the journalist Halilu Ahmed Getso, and Kamaluddeen Sani Shawai to be aired Wednesday Morning on Tambari TV on Nilesat, President Buhari said reasons given to him by the CBN convinced him that the economy stood to benefit from reduction in inflation, currency counterfeiting and the excess cash in circulation.


“He said he did not consider the period of three months for the change to the new notes as being short.


”People with illicit money buried under the soil will have a challenge with this but workers, businesses with legitimate incomes will face no difficulties at all.”


Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, had kicked against plans by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to redesign some naira notes.


She said the ministry was not aware of the plans and only knew about it through the media.


Ahmed said this on Friday when she appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance for the ministry’s budget defence session.


Her comments come barely 48 hours after the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, announced the plan to redesign the 100, 200, 500 and 1,000 notes and will go into circulation in December.


The finance minister said she and her ministry’s officials were not aware of the policy but only learnt of it from the media.


“We were not consulted at the Ministry of Finance by the CBN on the planned naira redesigning and cannot comment on it as regards merits or otherwise,” she said.


“As a Nigerian privileged to be at the top of Nigeria’s fiscal management, the policy, as rolled out at this time, portends serious consequences on the value of Naira to other foreign currencies,” she said.


Mrs Ahmed appealed to the committee to invite the CBN governor for required explanations as regards merits of the planned policy and rightness or otherwise of its implementation now.


Nigeria’s apex bank, while defending its decision to redesign N200, N500 and N1,000 notes, on Saturday evening stated on its Twitter account that the redesign of the naira was 12 years overdue.


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has insisted that it followed the law and due process in its decision to redesign some of Nigeria’s naira notes.


Nigeria’s apex bank, while defending its decision to redesign N200, N500 and N1,000 notes, on Saturday evening stated on its Twitter account that the redesign of the naira was 12 years overdue.


The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, on Wednesday announced the apex bank’s plan to redesign some naira notes but the decision has generated a backlash since it was announced.


In defence, CBN spokesman, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, said the decision of the management of the CBN is in line with provisions of section 2(b), section 18(a), and section 19(a)(b) of the CBN Act 2007, and that the management of the bank had duly sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari in writing to redesign, produce, release and circulate new series of N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes.


The apex bank said, “The CBN urges Nigerians to support the currency redesign project which is in the overall interest of every citizen of the country. The hoarding of significant sums of banknotes outside the vaults of commercial banks should be discouraged by anyone who means well for the country.


“CBN had tarried for too long considering that it had to wait 20 years to carry out a redesign, whereas the standard practice globally was for central banks to redesign, produce and circulate new local legal tender every five to eight years.”


Kidnappers will resort to dollars, other hard currencies – Sheikh Gumi


Meanwhile, Kaduna based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Abubakar Ahmad Gumi, on Saturday, said the decision by Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to redesign the naira to curtail ransom payment will fail, as kidnappers will resort to dollars and other hard currencies.


Gumi warned that the redesigning of the naira will further put more pressure on the economy making the rotten situation worse.


Gumi who posted this on his verified Facebook page, while reacting to CBN ‘s redesigning of the naira, said what the country needs is a free market driven economy with minimal cash flow control.


The cleric noted that eight percent of Nigerians especially rural people depend on cash transactions, saying a sudden change to a cashless or cash-starved society will mean pauperising them in a spate of a short time which could trigger an unprecedented socio-economic turmoil.


Gumi wrote: “As for the question of starving kidnappers of the naira, it goes without saying that they will resort to dollars and other hard currencies which will further put more pressure on it making the rotten situation worse.


“This is no time for economic kamikaze! People that sell goods will tell you that most Nigerians don’t have the money to buy things; therefore most traders are running at a loss and are already folding up. At this junction, anything that can cause more cash crunch will be a disaster for the nation”


Gumi stressed:”Many good ideas are marred by wrong timing. This is likely to be another one. No matter how ingenious the hatchers may romanticize; the benefit will remain phantom since the reality on the ground is incongruous and it spells doom for the escapade.


“This kind of programme is not for a government that is in the throes of its demise. If there is any advantage of such adventures, it usually comes after many years of excruciating poverty and hardship which no well-meaning government should hand over such cruelty to any incoming government to manage.”