We Are Unaware Of CBN Plans To Redesign Naira Says Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmad

Central Bank of Nigeria Governor Mr Godwin Emefiele (left), and Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmad

By NewsBits

Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmad, has disassociated her ministry from the planned move by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to redesign, print, release, and circulate three series of the Naira notes – N200, N500 and N1000 denominations.

The minister, who commented on the policy in response to a question raised by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC Ekiti Central) during the 2023 budget defense session with the Senate Committee on Finance, warned CBN of consequences that may arise from the new policy. Senator Bamidele had told the minister that barely two days after the announcement of the plan, the effect on the value of the naira to the 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 due to a rush in exchange of naira notes for foreign currencies, particularly dollars. In her quick response, the minister said she and her ministry are not aware of the policy but only heard of it from 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 the 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,” she said. The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had on Wednesday said that the apex bank would redesign the country’s currency from N200 denomination to N1000 notes.

He said that the action was taken in order to take control of the currency in circulation, just as he posited that 80 percent of the nation’s currency notes were outside bank vaults and that the CBN would not allow the situation to continue.

CBN Is Surprised At The Minister’s Stance, Due Process Was Followed

However, in an apparent response to claims by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, that her ministry was not carried along by the CBN, in the ongoing process of redesigning three series of the Naira, the Bank insisted it followed the law, and due process to carry out the exercise, which is 12 years due.

Speaking with a group of newsmen in Abuja at the weekend, 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 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.

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