The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has responded to the assertion made by Zainab Ahmad, the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, that her ministry was not told of the redesign of the N200, N500, and N1,000 denominations of the nation’s currencies carried out by the CBN.
Remember how CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele revealed on Tuesday, October 25, that the apex bank had received President Muhammadu Buhari’s clearance to redesign some naira notes?
However, on Friday, October 28, Ms. Zainab asserted that the CBN neglected to engage her ministry regarding the suggested redesign of the denominations as she was defending her ministry’s 2023 budget before the Senate Committee on Finance in Abuja.
“We were not consulted. It was an announcement that we heard and there are also consequences.
We are also looking at what the consequences will be. There will be some benefits but there are some challenges. I don’t know if the monetary authorities have looked very closely at what the consequences are and how they can be mitigated.
I still advise that you have that discussion with the monetary authority,” she had told the senate committee.
Osita Nwanisobi, the CBN spokeswoman, emphasized that the apex bank followed due process in its policy decisions in response to Ahmad’s statement.
He said that the CBN’s management had properly requested and received President Muhammadu Buhari’s written clearance to redesign, produce, release, and circulate new series of N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes in accordance with the CBN Act 2007’s Sections 2(b), 18(a), and 19(a)(b).
“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” he said.
According to Nwanisobi, “currency management in the country had faced several escalating challenges, which have threatened the integrity of the currency, the CBN and the country. 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.”
Regarding the timeframe of the redesign project, Nwanisobi stated that the CBN had waited 20 years too long.
”The standard practice globally was for central banks to redesign, produce and circulate new local legal tender every five to eight years.”he said.
While reassuring Nigerians that the currency redesign exercise was solely 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 claimed, in addition to assisting in the reduction of terrorist and abduction situations, was made possible by people’s access to the significant amount of money kept outside the banking system and utilized as a source of funding for ransom payments.