Finance minister dissociates self from naira redesign policy
The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning , Zainab Ahmed, has dissociated herself from the Naira redesign policy fixed for December 15, 2022 by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The Minister, who commented on the policy in response to question raised by Senators during the 2023 budget defence session she had with the Senate Committee on Finance, chaired by Senator Solomon Olamilekan, warned the CBN of consequences that may arise from the policy.
The Senate had told the Finance Minister that barely two days after announcement of the policy by the CBN, the negative effect was already being experienced in the country’s forex.
The Senate noted that just two days after announcement of the policy, value of the Naira to a US dollar has dropped from N740 to N788 due to rush in exchange of stashed Naira Notes for foreign currencies, particularly the dollar.
The senators added that the policy may be a well-conceived one, but the timing, going by realities on the 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, Ahmed 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 the 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 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.”
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had on Wednesday said that the apex bank would redesign the country’s currency from 200 Naira denomination to N1,000 notes.
He said the action was taken in order to take control of the currency in circulation just as he posited that the bulk of the nation’s currency notes were outside bank vaults and that the CBN would not allow the situation to continue.
The planned policy, he added, was in line with Sections 19, Subsections a and b of the CBN Act 2007, upon which the Management of the CBN sought and obtained the approval of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), to redesign, produce, and circulate new series of banknotes at N200, N500, and N1,000 notes.