By Suleiman Umaru
Barely eight months to the expiration of President Muhammadu Buari’s Administration, Hajiya Zainab Ahmed, minister of Finance, Budget and National Economy, appears to have given an insight how the country’s economy has been. run over the last seven years He stopped at saying that the economy of the country had been run by Godwin Emefiele led Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Management Team, and the Katsina born Nigerian President with little or no input from the supervising ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning.
.Hajia Ahmed, may have taken advantage of the debate of the ministry’s budget for the 2023, Fiscal year, at the National Assembly on Friday, Octobe 28, at Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory , FCT, to speak out. The minister, who had cited the CBN decision to redesign some of the nation’s naira denominations as one of such major monetary decisions that had be taken by the apex bank without input from the supervising ministry.
She had said that the way Nigerians heard the announcement on Television, and read it on Newspapers and the social media, was the same way the ministry officials including herself also heard it, fuelng specualtions making the rounds that the CBN governor, deal directly with the President, to get any approval to execute any major monetary policy without going through the supervisory ministry
An aggrieved minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning had said that ‘’even though one of the reasons for the CBN decision to redesign some naira notes’’ is to manage the country’s rising inflation’’ but she fears that ‘’the consequences that are sure to follow’’ after the Launching of the new currency notes by the President on December 15, 2022 may be too much for Nigerians to handle.
She had said that the ministry economic experts are already looking at’’ what the consequences and benefits that may come out of the policy decision’’. The aggrieved minister, who had lamented that She was not aware whether the Monetary Authorities looked very closely at what the consequences of the redesigning of the some of the country currency notes would be and how the will mitigate it’’.
`Recall that in justifying the redesigning of the N200, N500 and N1000, Emefiele, the Delta state born CBN governor had said that ‘’it is in line with the provision of the CBN, 2007 Act, sections 18(a and 2(b) which gave the Management of the apex bank the mandate to seek Presidential approval to redesign, produce , release and circulate , new series of bank notes’’.
Financial analysts believe that he may have alluded to the apex bank, Act, to give an excuse why the bank Management Team refused to pass through the supervising ministry to seek the Presidential approval to gop ahead withthe resigning of the naira notes, which, many had said would gulp billions of naira to print overseas, going by past experience.
Take for instance, the apex had spent the sum of N58 billion to pint 2.518 billion naira that was said to have earlier being valued by one of the overseas currency printers at N1,063 trillion in 2020. Recall that in 2019, alone the nation’s financial regulatory Authority expenditure in currency printing was N75.523 billion and N64.040 billion in 2018.
The CBN, governor, had further said that the decision to resign the N200, N500 and N100 notes, was taken ‘’ in order to take control of the country’s money in circulation ‘’. Indeed, he had made Nigerians to understand that there are too much money in circulation out the vault of the Commercial banks.
According to him, the money in circulation across the country as at the end of September, 2022, based on the data available to the apex bank was N2.7 trillion, out of the N3 trillion, noting that the excess money in circulation are held by the public , describing’’ it as worrisome’’ .
He had stated further that the planned mop up of the old currency would address the security challenges in the country as it will contain the activities of the Islamic Fundamentalist group, BokoHaram, the Islamic State of West African Province, ISWAP, currently operating in the north eastern states of Borrno and Yobe which have link with the Islamic State, of the middle East country of Iraq.
Emefiele is optimistic that it would also address the problem of banditry in the north western states of Zamfara, Kaduna, Sokoto and Katsina, Buhari, home state, and kidnapping and operations other criminal activities in other parts of the country including Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.
Security experts had said that he CBN, plans, to redesign some of the country’s naira notes as a way to mop up the old notes believed to be much in the hands of the terrorists, bandits and kidnappers, may have provided ammunition for the moles within the government, who are working with the bandits and terrorist to collapse Nigeria to devise new strategies to create panic by diving room to the North American countries of the United States, US, Canada, United Kingdom and the Asian country of Australia to raise security alarm .
Ladi Thompson, one of such security experts had said that the government gave the criminal elements the opportunity to create fears in the minds of Nigerians and foreigners, both within and outside Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, FCT. This is because of the Buhari’s Administration policies of absorbing captured terrorist into the Nigeria society. He had said the government failure ‘’to prosecute captured terrorists and terror financiers ‘’are clear signs of alleged complicity and creating moles in the system’’.
Appearing on Arise Television recently, and given his understanding of security issues, Thomson, had said that ‘’there are moles in high places in Nigeria’’, stressing that when terrorism is being used clinically, which is currently what is happening.
It is not surprising why the security expert, had warned the security agencies personnel not to ignore the imminent terror attacks at the FCT , released by the US, UK, Canada and Australia. He was aid to have asked the Army, under the close watch, of Lt. General. Yahya Farouk and Usman Alkali Baba, the Ispector General of Police, to change strategies of dealing with the bandits and terrorists by deploying high-tech devices to the FCT, immediately, noting that to attack ‘‘the nation’s Capital city is a matter of time’’.
The Nigerian President may have alluded to the security alarm credited to the US, Canada, UK and Asian country of Australia, when he disclosed that the attack by the ISWAP group on the Kuje prison , located at the outskirts of the FCT, andreleased some of their members in the prison, last July, and the attack on the 7 battalion of the Brigade of Guards, does not mean an attack on the FCT, is imminent.
The Nigerian President has made it clear to those cares to listen that ‘’since the ISWAP attack on the Kuje prison, security measures has been reinforced in and around the FCT’’, noting that ‘‘tight monitoring and interception of terrorist Communications to ensure potential threat are caught further upstream’’. The government is on top of the security situation of the FCT and the country in general’’, he had said.
He has asked the heads of the nation’s security and intelligence establishments and the citizenry , including foreigners ‘’to continue to be vigilant and careful with security and avoid panic in the wake of the recent changes in travel advice from the US, Canaa, UK and Australia governments’’, .