After being publicly questioned by Zainab Ahmad (Nigeria’s Finance Minister), the Nigerian central banks was forced to defend their controversial currency-redesign plans on October 29. The central bank insists the move is long overdue and urged Nigerians “to support the currency redesign project which is in the overall interest of every citizen of the country.”
President Muhammadu Buhari’s Written Approval
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has insisted its recently announced plan to issue newly designed naira banknotes is above board and “12 years overdue.” In an apparent rebuke of Nigerian Finance Minister Zainab Ahmad, who has publicly questioned the plan, the central bank said it had “obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari in writing to redesign.”
Addressing lawmakers a day after the CBN’s surprise announcement, Ahmad reportedly said she had not been consulted and therefore could not comment “on it as regards merits or otherwise.” As recently reported by Bitcoin.com News, the CBN’s plan to introduce newly designed naira banknotes is thought to have sparked the local currency’s parallel market exchange rate plunge, where it tapped a new all-time low versus the dollar of N781:$1.
Opponents of the CBN’s controversial plan insist that going ahead with the move could see the naira-to-dollar exchange rate fall to as low as 1000 naira per dollar by the end of January 31, 2023. In a statement on Oct. 29, 2022 the CBN demanded support from Nigerians for the currency reform policy.
“The CBN urges Nigerians to support the currency redesign project which is in the overall interest of every citizen of the country. The hoarding of significant sums of banknotes outside the vaults of commercial banks should be discouraged by anyone who means well for the country,” the central bank said.
Global Standard: Currency Redesign
The CBN added that it had “tarried for too long considering that it had to wait 20 years to carry out a redesign.” The statement also repeats the bank’s earlier claims that the circulation of the redesigned naira is a standard practice globally that must be carried out every five to eight years.
New 100, 200, 500 and 1,000-naira banknotes will begin to circulate on December 15. Nigerians should return old notes before the 31st of January 2023. Although critics have called for the CBN’s extension of the deadline to cancel the currency plan, local reports claim that President Buhari has expressed his support for this move.
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