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CBN Doesn’t Need To Consult You To Redesign Naira, Emefiele Replies Finance Minister

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, in a statement on Friday replied to the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, over her criticism of the decision to redesign some Naira notes.

Emefiele spoke on the criticism of the policy by the Minister in a statement he issued and signed on Friday in Abuja.

In the statement, he insisted that he does not need to consult Ahmed to redesign the Naira notes.

Quoting relevant sections of the law establishing the apex bank in the country, he said the move was in line with Sections 19, subsections A and B of the CBN Act 2007.

He said it was based on this that the management of the CBN sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to redesign, produce and circulate new series of banknotes at N200, N500 and N1,000 notes.

“With the president’s approval in writing, the CBN does not need to consult anyone else,” he added.

Ahmed had on Friday spoke while responding to questions from Senator Bamidele Opeyemi (APC-Ekiti) on the impact of the policy at the budget defence session of her Ministry with the Senate Committee on Finance.

Opeyemi had decried the spontaneous increase in the price of dollar to naira at the parallel market since the policy was announced by the CBN.

He expressed concern on the likely consequences of the policy on the nation’s economy, given the astronomical increase of forex.

Collaborating with him, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC-Lagos), said with the announcement of the policy, dollars had started going up.

Adeola said one of the consequences of the policy was that the price of dollar to the naira was rising, adding that it might get to N1,000 before December, when the policy would take off.

The Minister said she received information on the new policy just as other Nigerians, adding that her ministry, as a fiscal authority, was not part of the process leading to formulation and announcement of the policy.

Ahmed said: “We were not consulted.

“It was an announcement that we heard.

“It was said that part of the reason advocated was that it was one of the ways to mop up liquidity to manage inflation.

“But there are consequences that we are also looking at.

“What will the consequences be?

“There will be some benefits, but there will be some challenges.

“And I don’t know whether the monetary authorities have actually looked very closely as to where the consequences are and how they can be mitigated.

“So I still advise that you have that discussion with the monetary authorities.”

Ahmed said it was her opinion, as a Nigerian, not as a fiscal authority, reiterating that as the Ministry of Finance and fiscal authority, they were unaware of the policy.

Emefiele had on Wednesday told a news conference that the apex bank would redesign the N200, N500 and N1,000 notes following the approval of President Buhari.

He said the action was taken to take control of the currency in circulation, pointing out that the bulk of the nation’s currency notes were outside the banking sector.

He said the circulation of the new notes will begin on December 15, 2022, while the old ones will no longer be tenable from January 31, 2023.

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