The Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Zainab Ahmad, on Friday, rejected the notion two days after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) unveiled plans to redesign the naira, saying that it would have catastrophic effects on the economy.
During the Senate’s budget defense, Zainab, who completely disavowed the idea, warned of dire repercussions.
Godwin Emefiele, the CBN Governor, announced the launch of newly designed notes for N200, N500, and N1,000 on Wednesday.
The existing notes are still valid until January 31, 2023, he added, adding that the new notes will be in use by December 15, 2022.
He advised holders of the old naira notes to return them immediately without bank charges.
Speaking during the budget defence, Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC Ekiti Central) noted that barely two days after announcement of the policy by CBN, repercussion of it on the value of naira to US dollar was being felt.
Just two days after the announcement of the policy, the value of Naira to a US dollar has risen from N740 to N788 to a US dollar due to a rush in exchange of statched naira notes for foreign currencies, particularly the dollars.
To me, the policy may be a well conceived one, but the timing going by realities on ground is very wrong as the Naira may fall to as low as N1,000 to a US dollar before January 31, 2023 which is a time fixed for full implementation of the policy.
But the minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed in her response, said she and the other ministers were not consulted about on the policy, but only heard of it in the media.
Distinguished Senators, we were not consulted at the Ministry of Finance by CBN on the planned naira redesigning and cannot comment on it as regards merits or otherwise.
However as a Nigerian privileged to be at the top of Nigeria’s fiscal management, the policy as rolled out at this time, portends serious consequences on the value of Naira to other foreign currencies.
I will however appeal to this committee to invite the CBN governor for required explanations as regards merits of the planned policy and rightness or otherwise of its implementation now.