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Naira redesign: ACCI appeals for deadline extension

The Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria to extend the deadline for the non-continuation of the use of the current currency notes.

The President of ACCI, Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar made the appeal in a statement on Tuesday in Abuja.

Dr Abubakar was reacting to the recent announcement by the CBN on the redesigning of the country’s currency.

According to him, there have been various reactions from experts on the policy. He said while some of them agree with the CBN’s strategic objectives for the exercise, others differ.

“As a chamber, we recognise the advantages of this policy to include improvement in the integrity of the currency, curbing inflation, the efficiency of its supply and strengthening the strategy to conduct monetary policy, among others,” Dr Abubakar explained.

“However, we are not unaware of the cons of this policy on the national economy, specifically to the Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).

“We would recommend to the apex bank to intensify public awareness campaign on the need for people and businesses to transit cash outside the banking system to the banks.”

The sensitisation, he continued, would “allay the fears of Nigerians, deepen the buy-in of the citizenry and build national support for the implementation process”.

At the same time, the ACCI president said, the CBN should extend the deadline for the non-continuation of the use of the old currency notes.

“The chamber would also advise the CBN to provide financial and non-financial interventions (support) to cushion any likely negative impact this policy may have on businesses,’’ he said.

Also, the CBN, working with other stakeholders in the financial services eco space, needed to sustain and aggressively pursue and expand financial inclusiveness to cover unbanked segments of the society.

According to the CBN, the redesigned Naira notes will be released for circulation from December 15, while the existing notes will cease to be regarded as legal tender by January 31, 2023.

Writing by Fany Olumoye; Editing by Muzha Kucha and Tony Okerafor