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They’ve Hidden Plans – Mixed Reactions Trail CBN’s New Naira Notes

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Nigerians have shared divergent opinions on the recently released new banknotes by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration.

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on Wednesday announced the entry of the new notes into the country’s financial space.

The CBN boss, while explaining the features of the redesigned notes, told State House Correspondents that it was in line with global best practices, noting that it was mandatory for the naira to be redesigned and re-issued every five to eight years.

The last time the bank redesigned the naira was in 2014 when it changed the design of just the 100 naira note to commemorate Nigeria’s centenary.

According to him, it is regrettable that the naira has not been redesigned for the past 19 years owing to lack of political will from previous administrations.

“In the past, I have to confess that attempts by the CBN to redesign and re-issue the naira notes have been resisted. It is only President Muhammadu Buhari that has exhibited the courage to do so,” he stated.

Emefiele said it was the mandate of the CBN to redesign and re-issue the notes, stressing that the exercise would become a regular trend after five to eight years.

Meanwhile, Nigeria has in recent years undertaken the redesigning of her currency for various reasons.

READ ALSO: Why I Approved Redesign Of Naira Notes – Buhari

For instance, in response to the expansion in economic activities and to facilitate an efficient payments system, the ₦100, ₦200, ₦500 and ₦1000 banknotes were introduced in December 1999, November 2000, April 2001 and October 2005 respectively.

On 28th February, 2007, as part of the economic reforms, ₦20 was issued for the first time in a polymer substrate, while the ₦50, ₦10 and ₦5 banknotes, as well as ₦1 and 50K coins were reissued in new designs, and the ₦2 coin was introduced.

On 30th September, 2009, the redesigned ₦50, ₦10 and ₦5 banknotes were converted to polymer substrate following the successful performance of the ₦20 (polymer) banknote. Thus, all lower denomination banknotes were now printed in the polymer substrate.

Speaking on the development, Godwin Emefiele, added that the move to introduce newly designed notes became imperative following the abnormalities bedevilling Nigerian financial, monetary and security systems.

The circulation of the new designs will begin on December 15, 2022.

But the introduction of the new naira banknotes has received a lot of reactions from Nigerians .

Some economic experts have pointed out that apart from the change in colour of the redesigned N200, N500 and N1000 naira notes, its security features have been enhanced.

But the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, AAC, Omoyele Sowore knocked President Buhari and Emefiele, accusing them of playing Nigerians by redesigning the banknotes.

Sowore slammed Buhari, saying that no significant change occurred to the naira, and it seems Nigerians have been deceived again.

For Shehu Sani, a former Nigerian lawmaker, it was only a colour change that was introduced in the new notes, saying, “If it’s Naira colour, the CBN should have just engaged Snapchat.”

A senior lecturer of the Department of Economics, Kaduna State University, Professor Abdulmalik Abdulkadir, said with the current redesign of banknotes, embezzlement of public money by those in position of power, would be minimised

Speaking to Journalists in Kaduna on Wednesday, Prof Abdulmalik noted that since the new notes are yet to be in circulation, what everyone is after is how to change the old currency which may soon fade away.

READ ALSO: JUST IN: CBN Gov, Emefiele Explains Features Of New Naira Notes

According to him, some public servants in positions of authority are also scared of stealing public funds as they would be caught anytime, anywhere.

Few Nigerians, who spoke to our correspondent on the streets of Abuja, also shared their thoughts. While some of them believe that it is a good way to stop politicians from money laundering ahead of the 2023 general elections, some others feel it is a waste of time.

Jennifer Adimso said, “I’m surprised that people still believe in this government and their policies. You’re talking about preventing politicians from laundering money but that’s a lie. Who is Emefiele working for? He is working for the APC. In fact, he is a member of the APC. He was contesting for the APC presidential primary if not for the pressure from Nigerians.

“In fact he went to court to challenge Nigerians against him. He is working for his party and if anybody is planning to launder money, it is APC. You’ll see bullion vans parked in the compound of some individuals and no one will question them. I believe they have some politicians they’re targeting. They’ve concluded their plans. These people think way ahead of us. Changing the colours of the N200, N500 and N1000 notes is just another way to distract Nigerians. Nothing more.”

David Sam Ade said, “All I can say is that the colour of those banknotes have changed. I’m not an expert to know the security features but all I can tell you is that the change won’t contribute anything. Now tell me, will it change the prices of garri, rice, yam, onions and other food items in the market? Buhari and his team are bent on deceiving Nigerians. We can’t wait for their tenure to end. People are suffering and all you can do is change the colour of money. It makes no sense to me. The reason why Emefiele is still there as the CBN governor is because he’s as clueless as the President himself.”

Pastor Jewel Abianso said, “Nigerians should be prayerful. Nigeria is drifting under the current government. See, the redesigning of the naira note may be good to many of us but we may not know the idea behind it. The question is why is it happening now? They said it is to stop money laundering against the election but how do we know the other underlying reasons? When a government has established itself on deceit, it becomes difficult to know when it is taking a good measure that would be beneficial to its people. I believe Nigeria has more significant problems than changing the colour of some currency denominations. Once again, I’ll encourage Nigerians to pray hard ahead of the forthcoming elections. Let’s pray for change and to have a government we can trust.”

Meanwhile, Abdulrasheed Bawa, Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), had described the development as apt and commendable.

He said it was “a well-considered and timely response” to the challenges of currency management.

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JUST IN: CBN May Increase Bureau De Change’s Share Capital To N2bn

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The Central Bank of Nigeria is considering plans to increase the share capital of Bureau De Change operators to N2bn and N500m for Tier 1 and Tier 2 licenses.

The currency operators were previously charged N35m for a general license.

This was contained in the draft paper of a “Revised Regulatory And Supervisory Guidelines For Bureau De Change Operations In Nigeria” published by the apex bank on Friday.

The new guidelines contain several new changes to the guidelines for BDC operations in the country and if endorsed will be effective at a date decided by the CBN.

READ ALSO: CJN To Swear In New Supreme Court Justices Monday

Recently, operations of the currency operators have suffered heavy backlash following the free fall of the naira against the dollar.

Government officials have severely blamed the black market operators for this fall though liquidity remains a huge challenge.

This week, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commision arrested over 250 BDC operators in Abuja and many more in other states of the federation.

Under the minimum capital requirements, the central bank is introducing a two-tier license for BDC operators in the country.

A Tier 1 BDC is authorised to operate on a national basis can open branches and may appoint franchisees, subject to the approval of the CBN.

READ ALSO: Economic Hardship: Delta Protest Canceled As Soldiers Arrest Journalist

A Tier 1 BDC (which is the franchisor) shall exercise supervisory oversight over its franchisees. All franchisees shall adopt their franchisor’s name, branding, technology platform, and rendition requirements.

Also, a Tier 2 BDC is authorised to operate only in one state or the FCT. It may have up to three locations – a head office and two branches, subject to approval of the CBN. It is not permitted to appoint franchisees.”

Under Tier 1 operators are expected to have N2bn as minimum share capital while also depositing a Mandatory Caution Deposit of N200m.

The application and license fee is also N1 million and N5 million respectively.

“Under Tier 2 operators are expected to have N500 million as minimum share capital while depositing a Mandatory Caution Deposit of N50 million. The application and license fee are also N250,000 and N2 million respectively.”

The apex bank also stated that the prescribed minimum capital of BDCs and any subsequent capital injection shall be subject to verification by the CBN.

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MPC Nominees Promise To End Forex, Food Crises

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The Senate on Wednesday grilled nominees for membership of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Monetary Policy Committee over the forex crisis and unending food crisis.

President Bola Tinubu had, last week, forwarded to the Senate for confirmation, the names of nominees for the committee of the CBN.

In giving the request expeditious consideration ahead of the MPC meeting slated for next Monday, February 26, the Senate, through its Committee on Banking, Insurance, and Other Financial Institutions, grilled six out of the nominees with questions on required urgent solutions to forex volatility and food crisis.

READ ALSO: EFCC Grills Former Kwara Gov AbdulFatah Ahmed For Second Day Over ₦10bn

The first to be grilled was the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission, Lamido Yuguda, who informed the committee that his nomination into MPC would give the SEC the needed voice in monetary policy.

Yuguda lamented that the value of the Naira as it is today, is not real, having lost its intrinsic value but that the MPC, when inaugurated on Monday, would join other stakeholders to stabilise the national currency.

He said, “The value of any currency is measured by the goods and services that it can buy. The Naira, as it is today, does not possess that value sufficiently which is being critically looked into.”

READ ALSO: Nigerians Knock Seyi Tinubu For Preaching Endurance Over Economic Hardship

In his submission, the nominee from Lagos State, Dr. Mustapha Akinkunmi, said the way out now is to target the exchange rate and not inflation as currently being tackled which hasn’t yielded so much result.

He saod, “A more proactive way of addressing the Naira volatility problem at hand is for the CBN to target the exchange rate itself and not inflation.

“The inflation the country is facing now is largely that of food inflation, which is beyond CBN but for the entire country.

“Production and distribution of food commodities across the country would help to reduce the food inflation, while the aggressive target of the exchange rate, would help to stabilise the Naira with the required increase in productivity.”

READ ALSO: VIDEO: Reject IMF, World Bank Offers – Falana Cautions FG

In a similar submission, the nominee from Imo State, Mrs Aku Odinkemelu, said productivity is the key to arresting the volatility of the Naira and food inflation.

Other nominees grilled at the session by the committee were Prof. Murtala Sagagi, Kano State; Bamidele Amoo, Kwara State; and Aloysius Ordu, who worked with the World Bank and the African Development Bank for 30 years at different times.

In his closing remarks, the committee’s chairman, Senator Tokunbo Abiru (APC, Lagos East), told the nominees that their screening was done ahead of the MPC meeting slated for next Monday by the CBN.

Abiru said what Nigerians expect to come after the meeting are solutions to the rising inflation rate, worsening Naira volatility in the forex market and the general rejuvenation of the economy.

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MTN, Dangote Cement, Others Drag Equity Market To N1.8tn Loss

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The equity market opened in the reds on Monday as investors lost about N1.82tn.

Substantial depreciations were observed in bellwether stocks, fuelled by strong sell interest in the market. Specifically, securities such as Dangote Cement, MTN Nigeria, NGX Group, NEM Insurance, and Tantalizer dipped by 10 percent, 10 percent, -9.76 percent, -9.74 percent, and -9.52 percent, respectively.

Both the All-Share Index and the market capitalisation of the local bourse depreciated by 3.15 percent to close at 102,393.23 points and N56.03tn due to waning market sentiment. Hence, the year-to-date return of the index dipped to 36.94 percent from 41.39 percent in the previous trading session.

Trading activities remained subdued into the new week with notable decreases in the total traded volume and value by 17.60 percent and 5.59 percent to 273.85 million units and N7.44bn, respectively. However, the total deals for the day bucked the trend, advancing by 17.60 percent to 9,688 trades.

In eight months of Tinubu administration, Nigeria’s stock market leads the world
Despite the market sentiments, buy pressure was observed in Juli Plc, Daar Communications, Sunu Assurances, ABC Transport, and NAHCO, as their share prices rose by 9.52 percent, 8.64 percent, 6.74 percent, 6.67 percent, and 5.86 percent.

READ ALSO: NAFDAC, PCN Raid, Seal 1,321 Patent Medicine Outlets In Kano

On the sectoral front, tracked sub-sector indices closed in red territory. The Industrial Goods sector topped the chart for the most losers with a massive 6.02 percent decline, primarily driven by sell-pressure in Dangote Cement. This was followed by the Insurance sector with a loss of 2.49 percent, attributable majorly, to share price declines in NEM Insurance, Linkage Assurance, and VeritasKap.

Sectors such as Banking, Consumer Goods, and Oil/Gas declined by 0.24 percent, 0.77 percent, and 0.28 percent, respectively.

Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc was the most traded security by volume with 28.85 million units, while Geregu led in value at N1.74bn.

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