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CBN insists it followed due process in naira redesign

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmad, had during the 2023 budget defence session said that her ministry was not carried along by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in the ongoing process of redesigning three series of the Naira.

Addressing newsmen in Abuja, on Friday night, the spokesman of the CBN, Mr Osita Nwanisobi, expressed surprise at the minister’s claim, stressing that the CBN remains a very thorough institution that follows due process in its policy and 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 to redesign, produce, release and circulate new series of N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes.

He urged Nigerians to support the currency redesign project, in the overall interest of Nigerians.

Mr Nwanisobi said that some persons were hoarding significant sums of banknotes outside the vaults of commercial banks.

Furthermore, he noted that currency management in the country had faced several escalating challenges which threatened the integrity of the currency, the CBN, and the country.

He noted that every top-rate Central Bank was 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 redesign project, Mr Nwanisobi explained that the CBN had even tarried for too long considering that it had to wait 20 years to carry out a redesign, whereas the standard practice globally was for central banks to redesign, produce and circulate new local legal tender every five to eight years.

Mr Nwanisobi said the currency redesign exercise was purely a central banking exercise and not targeted at any group, the CBN spokesman expressed optimism that the effort will, among other goals, deepen Nigeria’s push to entrench a cashless economy in the face of increased minting of the eNaira.

This, he said, is in addition to helping to curb the incidents of terrorism and kidnapping due to access of persons to the large volume of money outside the banking system used as a source of funds for ransom payments.

Mr Nwanisobi therefore urged Nigerians, irrespective of their status, to support the Naira redesign project, as it is for the greater good of the economy.

Ministry not aware of redesign naira policy- Finance Minister

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr Zainab Ahmad says her Ministry was not informed about the redesign naira policy of the CBN.

This was stated by Dr Zainab Ahmad during her appearance before the Senate Committee on Finance for the Ministry’s 2023M budget.

She told the committee that the CBN did not consult her Ministry on the proposed Naira redesign and that she cannot comment on the pros and cons.

“I will, however, appeal to this committee to invite the CBN governor for additional explanations as to the merits of the planned policy and the appropriateness or otherwise of its implementation now,” she said.

The CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele had on Wednesday said that the bank would redesign the country’s currency from 200 Naira denomination to N1,000 notes.

He said that the action was taken to control the currency in circulation and that the bulk of the nation’s currency notes were outside bank vaults.

Mr Godwin Emefiele said the policy was in line with sections 19, subsections a and b of the CBN Act 2007, which the management of the CBN sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to redesign, produce, and circulate new series of banknotes at N200, N500, and N1,000 notes.

Reporting by Amaka Ene and Biodun Dare Editing by Chinasa Ossai & Adeniyi Bakare