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Friday, December 9, 2022

Redesigning Naira notes good for economy, but…Fasua

By Francis Akinnodi

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The Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) move to redesign and reissue new N200, N500, and N1000 notes has been welcomed with mixed reactions.

The move by the apex bank has caused quite controversy between analysts, experts, and stakeholders as some individuals think it is commendable, others believe that this is happening at the wrong time.

Amongst those that welcomed the idea was an Economist, Dr Tope Fasua, who said the measure would have significant effect on the economy, adding that it was essentially about “black money.”

He suggested that the CBN should take such measures more frequently.

“When Central Bank do this, they try to pull in monies people are hiding; illegal money,  kidnapping money. Nigeria has managed to become a hub for these illegalities.

“I would even suggest that the CBN does this more often, maybe every 10 years. You would see a scenario where the banks are awash with liquidity.

“There are many people sitting on billions in naira, and even in dollars. The CBN should also see how it can pull in the dollars,” he told The Hope.

He advised that the idea of individuals operating personal domiciliary bank accounts should be banned, adding that nobody needed it.

A Trade and Investment expert, Ikenna Nwosu said the decision of the CBN to redesign some naira notes would increase the dollarization of the Nigerian economy.

Speaking on a national television programme monitored by The Hope, Nwosu acknowledged that the move by the CBN would help bring back a lot of money into the system but not all stashed funds will be recovered.

Similarly, the former President of Governing Council of the Association of Corporate Treasures of Nigeria (ACTN), Mr. Zeal Akaraiwe said that the decision of the CBN was the answer needed to wade in huge amounts of cash into the banking system while enhancing the effectiveness of CBN’s Monetary policies.

The Executive Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Abdulrasheed Bawa, described the plan by CBN to redesign some of the Naira notes as a welcome development.

However, among the few others who criticized the move was Economic expert, Emeka Okengu, who argued that the timing was wrong.

With respect to the CBN’s claim of curbing currency counterfeiting as one of its reasons, Okengu said counterfeiting doesn’t stop by just changing the currency; it can only be addressed by tracking and arresting those involved.

Also, an economist, Rotimi Alabi disclosed that the timing of the apex bank was wrong as it would disrupt the economy, and would put unnecessary pressure on businesses as well as affect the forthcoming 2023 general election.”

However, a financial expert, and past President of the Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Okechukwu Unegbu said redesigning the naira was not the most important problem facing the economy.

He said the apex bank should have simply ensured that the scarce lower naira denominations, like N100 and N200 were readily available by printing more.

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