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Naira Redesign: CBN Deadline Insensitive, Spells Doom For Country’s Economy – Experts

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As the 31 January 2023 deadline given by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to phase out the old naira notes inches closer, economic experts have said that refusing to extend the deadline is insensitive and would spell doom for the country’s economy.

The call is an addition to several ones made by stakeholders, including the National Assembly, on extending the deadline for old naira notes to remain legal tender.

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In December, the Senate beckoned on the CBN to shift the deadline from 31 January to June. The upper chamber made this call in a motion raised by Senator Ali Ndume and supported by his colleagues during a plenary.

The speed with which the apex implements the naira redesign policy in less than three months leaves more to wonder as fear of a real crisis heightens.

READ ALSO: Locals Reject Old Naira, As Scarcity Of New Notes Hits Kaduna

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When contacted CBN’s director of Corporate Communications, Mr Osita Nwanisobi, he said he was indisposed to reply to our correspondents’ enquiry on the naira redesign deadline because he was attending the bank’s Monetary Policy Meeting.

Speaking with DAILY POST on the development, the CEO of Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, CPPE, Dr Muda Yusuf, said it would be insensitive if CBN insists on the 31 January, 2023, deadline.

According to him, the apex bank needs to be more realistic about the deadline based on the apparent adequacies and logistics gaps.

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He said if CBN insists on implementing the 31 January deadline, it will infringe on citizens’ fundamental human rights.

“The CBN needs to be realistic about this deadline; there is still a lot of gap in the implementation of the naira redesign.

“Concerning the adequacy of the new naira notes, the quantity available is insufficient.

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“The other gap regarding logistics, CBN never imagined the logistics implication.

“The logistical thing to do is to extend the deadline. It is going to dispose of citizens’ hard-earned money.

“It is most insensitive for CBN to insist on a deadline that would inflict another pain on Nigerians.

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“It will create a whole lot of confusion in the system. CBN, an agency of government, should not toe this line.

“In other climes, they do current redesign policy implementation in two years. CBN wants to do it in less than two months here in Nigeria.

“The National Assembly and other stakeholders have called on the CBN to extend the 31 January deadline. President Muhammadu Buhari must add his voice, else the economy would be deeply affected.

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READ ALSO: Naira Redesign Policy: Kidnappers Will Demand Dollars For Ransom – Gumi

“If CBN insists, it will be infringing on the fundamental human rights of Nigeria citizens,” he said.

A financial expert, Mr Idakolo Gbolade, said the CBN 31 January deadline is not feasible.

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He stated that the CBN deadline extension would accelerate the policy implementation nationwide.

He said, “If the CBN does not flood the country with the new notes and even use other means of exchanging it for Nigerians apart from the commercial banks, I do not foresee a successful policy implementation in a week to the deadline.

“The CBN just came up with the cash swap policy for rural areas last week to exchange the old notes for the new ones. The cash swap policy will only succeed if the deadline is extended.

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“I am now concluding that the deadline is punitive and could cause some uninformed Nigerians significant loss if the dynamics remain the same.”

Also, an Accounting and Financial Development don at Lead City University, Ibadan, Prof Godwin Oyedokun, said the deadline extension is inevitable.

According to him, Nigerians should not suffer the inefficiency of CBN and those responsible for governance.

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“I have said it long before that extension of this date is inevitable.

“It is common knowledge that these notes are not out in commercial quantities.

“It is not our fault as citizens, and we cannot be made to suffer the inefficiency of those charged with governance.

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“Now that the notes are not in circulation or in sufficient quantities, it is expected that the CBN should do the needful by extending this by some reasonable days”, he stated.

READ ALSO: Naira Redesign: Governors Summon Emefiele Over Policy

The CBN announced late last year, precisely October 26, the naira redesign policy, and barely a month after, 23 November, President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the new naira notes, followed by its circulation on 15 December.

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The apex bank issued a directive to commercial banks to ensure that their ATMs dispense only the banknotes. But many banks continued to defy the order.

In less than seven days to the 31 January deadline, the old naira notes are the majority currency in circulation nationwide.

Although the CBN has carried out several initiatives, including its latest cash-swap programme, the calls for extending the deadline have become too loud to ignore.
DAILY POST

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Nigerians Need Cash Now, Osinbajo Laments Naira Scarcity

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Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has expressed concern over difficulty experienced by Nigerians in getting the new naira notes.

The VP on Friday in Abuja met with some players in the FinTech space to explore possible ways of mitigating the hardship.

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Osinbajo urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and banks to deploy more FinTechs and money agents to the hinterlands to address the worrying situation.

The Vice President stated that Nigerians need cash to pay for transport, food, and other needs.

“In Abuja how do you take ‘drop or along’ or use a Keke NAPEP without cash, or buy foodstuff on the road or in canteens, or even buy recharge cards?

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“Parents with kids in public schools give money daily to their children for lunch, most commerce is informal, so you need cash for most things”, he said.

Osinbajo said it was disturbing that after depositing old notes, there are no new notes: “People everywhere in the urban areas and rural areas simply have no money.”

The nation’s second-in-command observed some FinTechs have mobile money licenses and should be engaged immediately.

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READ ALSO: Allow Old, New Naira Notes Coexist, APC Govs Beg Buhari

He said many of them have micro-finance bank licenses and already have a network of mobile money agents or human banks or human ATMs, as they are sometimes.

They can supervise by themselves. They can do currency swaps and open bank accounts.”

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Also on Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari met with some All Progressives Congress (APC) governors at the Presidential Villa over the nara scarcity.

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Nigeria’s External Reserves Fell By $63.62m In January

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External reserves fell by $63.62 million in January, latest figures from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, have revealed.

The CBN revealed in its data on the movement of foreign reserves that the external reserves, which ended December 30, 2022, at $37.08 billion, fell to $37.01 billion at the end of January 30, 2023.

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Nigeria’s external reserves fell by $3.43 billion in 2022 after dropping from $40.52 billion at the end of December 31, 2021.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: Youths Protest Naira, Fuel Scarcity In Oyo

Earlier, Cordros Securities, in its January report, stated that the country, through its policy, has continued to sideline foreign investors at the expense of foreign earnings.

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CBN’s FX supply to the foreign exchange market segments remained significantly below before the COVUD-19 pandemic period. Meanwhile, the demand for the greenback has increased as market players continue to source for FX to fulfil and clear their outstanding obligations,” the report said.

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Emefiele’s Cashless Policy Disastrous – Shehu Sani

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Civil rights activist and former Senator representing Kaduna Senatorial District, Shehu Sani has described the cashless policy introduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, governor, Godwin Emefiele as disastrous and poisonous.

Sani was reacting amid hardship being experienced in withdrawal of money by bank customers leading to queues across the country.

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In a statement he issued on Friday and sent to DAILY POST, Sani wondered how public policy should be a catastrophe to people rather than being a succour.

READ ALSO: Allow Old, New Naira Notes Coexist, APC Govs Beg Buhari

He said: “The redesigning of the National currency and the cash withdrawal policy introduced by Godwin Emefiele is an economic disaster and a poisonous idea aimed at unleashing hardships on the masses of Nigerians.

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“If the Buhari administration really wants to target the few corrupt, it doesn’t have to wait this long and it doesn’t have to impoverished punish the poor. Emefiele set a forest on fire in the name of catching a few rats.”

The ex-lawmaker posited that the apex bank has become a political institution, stating that as a developing nation, economic policies such as this would have taken the status of Nigerians into cognisance.

The CBN has become a political institution and a home for serpentine and delirious economic ideas.

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“The CBN under Emefiele has become a shrine for misery and a breeding ground for penury. It has become a republic within a republic,” he said.

He queried reasons Buhari allowed the policy at the twilight of his administration, particularly in 2019 when he recontested to stop vote buying.

“Why didn’t the Buhari administration introduce the change of currency in 2019 and waited until 2023 if the CBN policy is about curbing vote buying?

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READ ALSO: JUST IN: Buhari Meets APC Governors At Villa

“Nigeria has been turned into a vast refugee camp where people queue for cash ration. Nigerians have subjected to the multiple tragedies of struggling for money, searching for money, looking for money and scratching for money.

“Nigerians used to buy Dollars at the black market, now they are also buying Naira at the black market.

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“The Ahmed Lawan led Senate has failed to checkmate the excesses and autocracy of the CBN because the leadership is in bed with it. The House of Reps have a clear and principled position on the matter”, he concluded.

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