Journalism of Courage

Redesigned Naira notes: CBN replies Finance Minister, insists it followed due process

....says it duly sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari in writing to redesign, produce, release and circulate new series of N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes

Following claims by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmad, that her ministry was not consulted, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said it followed the law and due process in redesigning the Naira.

The spokesman for the bank, Mr Osita Nwanisobi, who stated this, expressed surprise at the minister’s claim, insisting that the CBN remains a “very thorough institution that follows due process in its policy actions.”

According to Nwanisobi, the management of the CBN, in line with provisions of Section 2(b), Section 18(a), and Section 19(a)(b) of the CBN Act 2007, had duly sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari in writing to redesign, produce, release and circulate new series of N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes.

Urging support the currency redesign, he said it was in the overall interest of Nigerians as some people were hoarding significant sums of banknotes outside the vaults of commercial banks across the country.

Nwanisobi said this act should not be encouraged by anyone who meant well for the country.

He pointed out that currency management in the country had faced several challenges which had threatened the integrity of the currency, the CBN, and the country.

“Every top-rate Central Bank is committed to safeguarding the integrity of the local legal tender, the efficiency of its supply, as well as its efficacy in the conduct of monetary policy.”

On the timing of the new naira notes, Nwanisobi explained that CBN had to wait for 20 years to carry out a redesign, whereas the standard practice globally is for central banks to redesign, produce and circulate new local legal tender every five to eight years.

While assuring Nigerians that the currency redesign exercise was purely a central banking exercise and not targeted at any group, the CBN spokesman expressed optimism that the effort would, among other goals, deepen Nigeria’s push to entrench a cashless economy in the face of increased minting of the e-Naira.

“In addition, it will help to curb terrorism and kidnappings due to access of people to large sums of money outside the banking system used as a source of funds for ransom payments.

“We urge Nigerians, irrespective of their status, to support the Naira redesign project as it is for the greater good of the economy.”

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