The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed on Friday revealed that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, did not carry her Ministry along in its plan to redesign and roll out new N200, N500 and N1000 notes effective December 15, announced last Wednesday.
In a swift reaction Friday night, the CBN said it was surprised by the minister’s outburst and that due process was followed in arriving at the Naira redesign project, including obtaining the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The Minster, who was responding to posers raised by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC Ekiti Central) during the 2023 budget defence session at the Senate Committee on Finance, warned that the new notes could have dire consequences on the value of the Naira.
Bamidele had told the Finance Minister that barely two days after the announcement of the policy by the CBN, it had started having repercussions on the value of the Naira when compared to the US Dollar.
He said, “Just two days after the announcement of the policy, the value of the Naira to a US Dollar had risen from N740 to N788 to a US dollar due to the massive rush to exchange Naira for 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 fixed for full implementation of the policy.”
In her response, the Minister, who clarified that her position was personal opinion, said she and her Ministry were not aware of the policy but only heard of it from the media.
She said, “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, a Nigerian privileged to be at the top of Nigeria’s fiscal management, the policy as rolled out at this time, portends serious consequences for 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.”
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