By Lateef Adegbite
Godwin Emefiele, governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, who has been under severe attack from several quarters, including the National Assembly over the redesigning of the big naira Notes: N200, N500 and N1000, says the purpose for the monetary policy has started yielding results.
Besides redesigning the N200, N500 and N100 Notes, the apex bank had set a withdrawal limit of N500,000.00 for Individuals and N5 million, for Corporate Organisations as well as setting a January 31, 2023, deadline for swapping the old naira Notes to the new Notes.
An elated Emefiele , who had met with President Muhammadu Buhari, in his country home at Daura, Katsina state, on Sunday, January 29, 2023, had told Journalists ,that 75% of the N2.7 trillion held outside the banking system has been recovered.
The CBN, governor , who had repeatedly had said that there is no reason for the nation’s currency in circulation to rise from N1.4 trillion to N3.2 trillion in seven years, had made Nigerians to understand that people are hoarding the naira in their bank vaults which they had built at home.
He had said that due to the economic sabotage the official exchange rate between the Nigerian currency, the naira and the North American country of the United States dollar had risen to N440 to $1 and N740.00, in the Parallel market which he had attributed to the high demand for the dollar.
He had said that due to the high demand for foreign currency, particular, the dollar and Pounds tSterling, including the Euro, may have encouraged the likes of the owner of the Aboki, FX, who lives in London, had who had targeted Nigerian to pull down the economy to be fixing the currency’s exchange rate and pasting on his webs site and making huge profits in naira while the economy bleeds.
He had said that since the regulatory Banking Authority embarked on the implementation of the new monetary policy with the approval of the Katinsa born Nigerian President, the country’s inflationary rate which has been going up over the last couple of months as reported by the Bureau of Statistics, have started trending downwards and exchange rate relatively stable in the recent time as it has somehow reduced kidnapping and ransom making by armed men because no one will collect the old naira Notes from them any longer.
The apex bank governor had given kudos to the Nigerian President for giving the CBN, the approval ‘’to embark on the ambitious programme which had not been carried out by the regulatory body over the last 19 years because past Administrations had not given it the opportunity to do so.
Given an insider information on why the economy has not picked up over the last seven years, he had said that if the apex bank had been able to conduct this important aspect of its mandate , as they should normally have done within five-eight year window, the situation may not have not been too bad.
He may have indicted former Presidents Olusegun Obasanjo, Late Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan, of the then ruling People’s Democratic Party, PDP, over their inability to give approval for the redesigning of the country’s old naira Notes noting that ‘’only an incorruptible leader of Buhari’s stature that can give such approval to the CBN’’.
Having achieved the purpose of coming out with the new monetary policy, may have informed why the CBN, top Management had sat to review the policy on the January 31, 2023, deadline for Swapping of the old naira Notes for the New Notes.
The apex Bank top Management may have seen the need to extend the deadline by heeding to people’s appeal as a way to encourage more Nigerians SWAP their old naira Notes for the new ones an thus had requested the approval of the Nigerian President to do so.
It had set February 10, 2023, as the new deadline for swapping the old naira Notes for the new Notes but the President in turn had given an additional seven days grace period expiring, on February 17, 2023, to enable Nigerians who could not exchange their old naira Notes between February 1, 2023 and February 10, 2023, to deposit their old Notes after the February 10, 2023, deadline when the old currency would have ceased to be a legal tender.
Given the seriousness of the apex bank to recover the millions of naira outside the banking system, particular, in Zamfara state, described a home of the Bandits Group and kidnappers in Nigeria, may have informed why the CBN branch in the state has ordered First Bank, Access Bank, UBA, FCMB, and Zenith Bank, to make new naira Notes available to Points of Sale, POS, Operators, who have accounts with them to facilitate the swapping of the old naira Notes for the new ones or face sanctions.
Indeed, the minority caucus of the House of Representatives under the close watch of Femi Gbajabiamila, has commended the CBN , Authorities for listening to the plea of Nigerians by extending the deadline for the swapping of the old naira notes for the one by 10 days.
The House minority caucus, which had described ‘’the decision as a welcome development’’ had said that ‘’it will ease the suffering as well as economic hardship currently being experienced by people, particular, people of the lower rung of the society and traders in accessing the new naira Notes in the earlier stipulated deadline of January 31, 2023.
The duo, Aswaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and Presidential Candidate of the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, and Atiku, the PDP, Candidate, for the 2023, general elections had at different times lend their voice to the extension of the deadline for the swapping of the old naira Notes to the new Notes.
, There were reports on Saturday, January 28, 2023 that, Atiku, had urged the CBN, governor to extend the deadline for the use of the old naira Notes, describing the January 31, 2023, deadline as’’ unrealistic and causing heavy discomfort to Nigerians’’.
The PDP, Presidential Flag bearer, who could not hide his feelings was said to have tweeted that ‘’it will be magnanimous for the Federal government and the regulatory body to ease the suffering of the people while the bank can continue to sensitize the public on the imperative of the mobile banking policy’’.
Buhari may have listened to the plea of Tinubu bu and Atiku, two of the 18 Contenders jostling to take over from him after the Februsry 25, Presidential and National Assembly elections, for the 2023, general elections that he had approve the CBN, request to extend the deadline by 10 days, and to add an additional seven days grace period for those who could not meet the deadline to do so.