The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has accepted culpability for the chaos arising from the redesign of the N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes and the resultant suffering Nigerians are faced with.
Mr Folashodun Shonubi, CBN’s Deputy Governor in charge of Operations said the apex bank did not anticipate the resultant effects of the Naira redesign and cash withdrawal limits policies.
Speaking at the 22nd fellowship conferment lecture and ceremony organised by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) in Abuja, Mr Shonubi acknowledged that there was an oversight.
The lecture held on Thursday, February 9, 2023, was titled, ‘The intricacies of the naira redesign and its benefit to Nigerians’.
“As you know, Nigerians are very ingenious. And we created a whole new line of business for people that we never envisaged.
“An aspect of that is queuing, where you sell your position on the queue for money. Night crawling, where you wait till night, collect numerous cards from your friends and family and go to an ATM and empty them using different cards and then take the cash to sell.
“So it’s been a bit stressful to be honest because we did not anticipate this kind of behaviour,” he said.
However, Shonubi argued that numerous benefits have been achieved, including the retrieval of N2 trillion to the banking system since implementation commenced.
He vowed that the CBN will do everything within its authority to ensure that it salvages the current situation and make the challenges become a thing of the past as soon as possible.
Council of State gives CBN two options to address Naira scarcity
Meanwhile, the Council of State has presented two options to the CBN with which to address the current shortage of Naira notes in the country.
TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) reports the National Council of State asked the CBN to print more new notes or recirculate the old Naira notes to ease the current hardship being faced by Nigerians.
However, the Council of State expressed support for the Naira redesign policy of the apex bank but stressed that the hardship on Nigerians was too much.
Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami briefed State House reporters on the key issues after the Council of State meeting at the Presidential Villa, Abuja on Friday.
According to Malami, the Council of State advised the CBN to urgently ensure the availability of Naira notes to douse tension and ameliorate the suffering of citizens across the country.
“The two major resolutions that were driven by the deliberations of the Council are: one, that we are on course as far as the election is concerned and we are happy with the level of preparation by INEC and the institutions.
“And then two, relating to the Naira redesign policy, the policy stands but the Council agreed that there is need for aggressive action on the part of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as it relates to implementation of the policy by way of ensuring adequate provision being made with particular regards to the supply of the Naira in the system,” Malami said.
While corroborating the comments made by the Attorney General, Gov. Darius Ishaku of Taraba State said the INEC and the Inspector General of Police both gave details of their level of preparedness for the 2023 election.
He said the governor of the CBN gave details of the Naira redesign policy as well as the merits and demerits of the policy.
“The Governor of the Central Bank briefed us on the monetary change and issues that have arisen relating to that across the whole States of the Federation.
”He gave us the merits of that policy that is being implemented.
”What took more time was the monetary issue because of the scarcity of money in circulation but generally the view is that principally the policy was accepted.
“But the major issue is that of implementation. So many views were proffered particularly that the CBN governor should look into making sure that the new money is available in quantum.
”And there were suggestions too that if the new money is not enough or printing them could be difficult, the old currency could be recirculated or pumped into circulation to ease the tension particularly for the poor people in the society who will need a little money to buy their food or drugs on daily basis,” he said.
Ishaku said all deliberations at the Council were advisory, but the president would take the final decision.
Gov. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, who also briefed newsmen, assured that the president would take the right decision at the end of the day for the benefit of all Nigerians.
“All we said or discussed were advisory and the president will retire back to his office and I think with all of this advice, the executive knows what to do as we move on.
”I’m sure the president will make his thoughts and views known to the nation,” he added.
TNG reports present at the Council of State meeting are former presidents Goodluck Jonathan, Yakubu Gowon and Abdulsalami Abubakar, Olusegun Obasanjo, who joined the meeting virtually.
Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba were also present to brief the council.
The Council of State is an organ of the Federal Government of Nigeria which advises the executive on key policy making.
This would be the first Council of State meeting held in 2023, coming 14 days to the presidential elections and amid the twin crisis facing the economy: fuel scarcity and a cash crunch occasioned by the CBN’s Naira redesign policy.