JUST IN: At Last, CBN Breaks Silence, Says Old Naira Notes Remain Legal Tender Till December
The Central Bank of Nigeria has directed commercial banks to dispense and receive old naira notes as legal tender across the country.
The CBN gave the directive at a Bankers’ Committee meeting held on Sunday, according to a statement by the Acting Director, CBN Corporate Communications, Isa AbdulMumin, on Monday.
This is coming hours after the Presidency Monday evening said the CBN had no reason not to comply with the ruling of the Supreme Court on the naira redesign policy.
It stated that the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), did not instruct the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to disobey “any court orders involving the government and other parties.”
The PUNCH reports that over one week after the court handed down the order, the AGF and the CBN have kept mum over the verdict. Their silence has emboldened Nigerians and businesses to reject the old notes as legal tender.
Meanwhile, state governments, which sued the Federal Government on the naira redesign policy, have given the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, and the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Godwin Emefiele, till Tuesday to comply with the order of the Supreme Court on the currency.
The state governments threatened to file contempt charges against the two top officials on Tuesday should they fail to obey the apex court which ordered that the old N1,000, N500 and N200 should be in circulation alongside the new notes till December 31, 2023.
The PUNCH reports that the apex court had ordered that the old naira notes be allowed to circulate side by side the new notes until December 31, 2023.
A seven-man panel of the Supreme Court led by Justice John Okoro gave the judgment. Other justices that sat on the case are Emmanuel Agim, Amina Augie, Mohammed Garba, Ibrahim Saulawa, Adamu Jauro and Tijanni Abubakar.
In the judgment delivered by Justice Agim, the apex court held that Buhari breached the constitution in the manner he issued directives for the redesigning of the naira.
On the disobedience of the Supreme Court’s earlier order on the new notes, Justice Agim said Buhari’s broadcast of February 16, 2023 that only the N200 note should remain legal tender made the country’s democracy look like a mere pretension.
Justice Agim stated, “Let me consider the issue of the President’s disobedience of the 8-2-2023 interim order that the new and old versions of naira notes continue to circulate as legal tender until the determination of the pending application for interlocutory injunction. It is not in dispute that the 1st defendant refused to obey the said order.
READ ALSO: Naira: CBN Has No Reason To Disobey Court Orders — Presidency
“The President’s 16-2-2023 national broadcast reproduced here in pages 27-31 demonstrates this disobedience. In disobedience of the order, he directed that only the old N200 naira notes be re-circulated. Interestingly, there is nothing to show the implementation of even that directive. I agree with the 9th plaintiff that the 1st defendant is not entitled to be heard by this court when it has effused to respect the authority of this court and the authority of law from which the authority of the President and the government of Nigeria derives.
“The rule of law upon which our democratic governance is founded becomes illusory if the President of the country or any authority or person refuses to obey the orders of courts. The disobedience of orders of courts by the President in a constitutional democracy as ours is a sign of the failure of the constitution and that democratic governance has become a mere pretension and is now replaced by autocracy or dictatorship.”
25 Nigerian Crude Shipments Struggle To Find Buyers In Europe
Nigeria is toiling to find buyers for its crude oil as strikes in the French refining sector and seasonal maintenance at European plants cut into the OPEC producer’s sales.
There are reports that about 25 shipments of the country’s crude for April loading were still searching for buyers, according to four traders specialising in the West African market. Each cargo was reported to contain about a million barrels of crude.
According to tanker-tracking data compiled by Bloomberg, France, one of Nigeria’s biggest buyers, took an average of 110,000 barrels daily of Nigeria’s oil over the past year.
However, demand has shrivelled this month, with France’s overall crude imports dropping by half in March as the nationwide dispute over pension reforms escalated.
READ ALSO: Uncertainties Might Persist Amid High Risks To Financial Stability – IMF
Bloomberg also reports that European plants are also buying less crude because of seasonal maintenance adding to the impact of the strikes.
“The Nigerian backlog is a combination of higher freight costs, lower tanker availability — specifically into Europe — as well as lower overall demand for West Africa light sweet as crude from other regions is deluging markets,” said Viktor Katona, a lead crude analyst at Kpler.
Uncertainties Might Persist Amid High Risks To Financial Stability – IMF
Amid the continued tension necessitated by the Russia-Ukraine war and the post-COVID-19 pandemic effect, the International Monetary Fund warned on Sunday that risks to financial stability have increased following the recent sector in the financial industry.
Speaking at the China Development Forum in Beijing, IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said she expected 2023 to be another challenging year.
Her position is based on the rate of global growth slowing to below 3.0 per cent due to the war in Ukraine, monetary tightening and scarring from the pandemic.
READ ALSO: IMF Warns CBN, Others Over Rising Inflation
She also stressed the need for vigilance despite the high risks.
She said, “Uncertainties are exceptionally high, with the outlook for the global economy likely to remain weak over the medium term. It is clear that risks to financial stability have increased.”
Stock Investors Record N13bn Loss In Seven Days Over Interest Rates Hike
At the end of last week’s trading activities in the Nigeria Stock Market, the market capitalisation declined by N13 billion following the Central Bank’s Monetary Policy Rate hike to 18 per cent.
According to data gathered by DAILY POST, the All-Share Index closed 0.04 per cent lower at 54,892.53 compared to the 54,915.39 it commenced last week.
A review of last week’s trade showed that similarly, all other indices finished lower except for NGX Consumer Goods and NXG Growth, which appreciated by 1.11 per cent and 2.90 per cent, respectively, while the NGX ASeM, NGX Oil and Gas indices and NGX Sovereign Bond index closed flat.
The NGX ASI went up slightly on Wednesday, a day after the new MPR rate was announced, but it continued to dip till the close of trading on Friday.
READ ALSO: Marketers Predict Six-month Fuel Scarcity, Prices Rise
The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria raised Monetary Policy Rates, MPR, to 18 per cent from 17.5 per cent last month.
Muda Yusuf, the director of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, CPPE, earlier disclosed to DAILY POST that interest rate hike would affect investors in Nigeria.
However, stock analysts are optimistic that the market will bounce back since the elections are over.
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