By Suleiman Umaru
Barely eight months to the expiration of President Muhammadu Buhari’s second term in office, the Katsina state born Nigerian President, has moved to redesign the naira denomination of n200, N500 and N1,000, notes, at the instance of Godwin Emefiele, the Central Bank Of Nigerian, CBN, governor and his Management Team
Now the Buhari, led APC, government, at the instance of Godwin Emefiele, governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and his Management Team, has moved to redesign the country’s N200, N500 and N1000 notes, described as a capital intensive project.
The question on the lips of most people was why:Is it necessary to redesign the naira of the N200, N500 and N1000, notes, when the next Administration will take over from him after the 2023, general elections. Note that the office of the CBN, governor is a tenured one, and Emiefele is currently serving another five years in office, having been reappointed by the Nigerian President.
This clearly shows that he should have spared Buhari of such troubles at tail end of his Administration tot redesign N200, N500 and N1000, notes, denomination and seek the approval to do so under the next the next Presient of Federal RePUBLIC Of Nigeria and divert the money that would be used in printing the new naira notes to other critical sectors of the economy: Health and Education.
Take for instance, in 2021, the CBN, was said to have, spent the sum of N58 billion to print 2.518 billion naira that was said to have been valued at N1.063 trillion in 2020. Recall that in 2019, the apex bank expenditure in currency printing, alone, was N75.523 billion and N64.040 billion in 2018.
Many Nigerians may not have seen any need for the planned redesigning of the N200, N500 and N1000, notes, which would gulp billions of naira to print when 21, of the 36 states of the Federation are currently being flooded, rendering many families homeless and thousands of farmlands destroyed
This an indications that hunger, poverty, desperation and chaos, looms in the 21 flood prone states and Nigeria, in general. More worrisome is the fact, that many Communities and Urban areas, in the affected states, may lay in ruins, shattered, as its economies would be devastated and its people faced with famine.
They had expected Hajia Sadiya Umar Faruq, minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development , to draw up ‘’a recovery plan for these flood affected states like the Marshal Plan, that was said to have been drawn up by George Marshall, one-time, United State of the United States , during the Administration of Harry Truman, in June 5, 1947.
This may have informed why financial analysts had said that Emefiele, the CBN, governor, has no justification to seek Presidential approval for the redesigning of the N200, N500 and N100, notes, when the country is facing more critical challenges that involves human lives
In justifying the planned redesigning of the naira, the and(b) country’s slated Notes in the designations of N200, N500 and N1000, notes, Emefiele, the Delta state born Banker, had said that ‘’it is in line with the provisions section 18(a), section 2(b) of the CBN, 2007 Act, which gave the Management of the apex bank the powers to seek the approval of the President to redesign, produce, release and circulate new series of bank notes , stressing that this is what had encouraged the the Management of the CBN, to seek the Presidential the approval to redesign N200, N500 and N1000 notes and got it.
The CBN, governor, had said that he action was taken ‘’in order to take control of the country’s currency in circulation’’. He had told those that cares to listen that ‘‘there are more money in circulation more than the CBN, had imagined’’. Emefiele, who could not hide his feelings lamented that as at the end of September 2022, data available the bank shows that N2.7 trillion, out of the N.3 trillion of the nation’s currency in circulation was completely outside the vault of the Money Deposit Banks, MDB, across the country and supposedly held by the public.
He may shocked Nigerians when he disclosed that the currency in circulation has more than doubled since 2015 to N3.2 trillion as at September 2022, describing it as ‘’worrisome’’, insisting that ‘‘this must not be allowed to continue to avoid the continued devaluation of the naira at the official Foreign Exchange market and the black market as well.
He is optimistic that the CBN, initiative, will go a long way ‘’to address the problem of Banditry, in the north west geo-political region and terrorism and kidnapping in north east of Borno and Yobe states and other parts of Nigeria.
Although, Emefiele , had said that the CBN, has the Presidential nod to go ahead with the redesigning of the N200, N500 and N1000, notes, but noted that ‘’it will be effective from December 15, 2022, after its launch by the Nigerian President, in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT’’.
He was said to have assured Nigerians that they have no reason to panic about changing their old notes with the redesigned serial currencies, as both the old and newly designed notes will remain to be legal tenders and circulate together until January 31, 2023, when the existing N200, N500 and N1,000 notes shall cease to be legal tender.
Notwithstanding the efforts of Emefiele , the CBN, governor and other officials of the apex bank to make Nigerians understand that the redesignation of some naira denominations would god a long way to strengthen the economy, Ikenna Nwosu, a Trade and Investment expert had said that the decision of Emefile and his Management Team, to get the approval of the President ‘’to redesign the N200, n500,n1,000 notes, will increase the dollarization of the nation’s economy and inflation.
He has agreed with other Trade and Investment experts that it bring back a lot of money into the system but noted that ‘’not all stashed funds will be recovered’’. He averred that the CBN, governor may have been encouraged to do so because the politicians are going ‘’to start using the naira to buy dollars, because they are going to be afraid to pay cash’’, meaning that ‘’there would be increased dollarization of the economy’’.
Worried that currency speculators and Bureau De Change, BDC, Operators, may want to undermine the CBM, moves, to redesign and issue the redesigned N200,N500 and N1000 notes, may have informed why Abdulaziz Bawa, led Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has warned them not to undermine the apex ban move or be dealt with.
The EFCC, Chairman, had said that the bold initiatives taken by the CBN , governor, to seek Presidential approval to redesign some naira denominations at this trying times of the nation’s economy ‘‘will bring sanity to the currency management situation of the country’’.
Appealing to the MDBs and BDC operators ‘’to work within the guidelines provided by the CBN, to ensure seamless withdrawal of the old currency, he disclosed that it is the only way to make the efforts of the apex bank not to be in vain in redesigning the N200, n500 and N100 notes.
He may have sent fears to official of the Commercial and mortgage Banks, when he warned that ‘’the ant-graft agency will monitor the process of withdrawal of the old notes from the banks, urging the MDBS, ‘’to be alive to their duties and not assist unscrupulous customers in laundering suspected proceeds of crimes through their system’’.