In an apparent response to claims by the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmad, 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, the Bank insists 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, 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 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.
However, urging Nigerians to support the currency redesign project, he said it was in the overall interest of Nigerians, reiterating that some persons were hoarding significant sums of banknotes outside the vaults of commercial banks. This trend, he said, should not be encouraged by anyone who means well for the country.
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, adding 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, 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.
While assuring Nigerians that 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.
Nwanisobi therefore urged Nigerians, irrespective of their status, to support the Naira redesign project, as it is for the greater good of the economy.