A northern group, The Arewa Economic Advancement Promoters, has thrown its weight behind the policy for the redesign of the nation’s currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria and subsequently named the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, its ‘Man of the Year’.
Area -P is a group of strategic communication specialists and academics involved in advocacy on economic empowerment policies and programmes in the North.
The group’s convener, Nasir Dambatta, while addressing a press conference in Kaduna, shared the CBN’s concerns about the urgent need to take measures to deal with liquidity and the flow of crime proceeds in the nation adding that it felt duty bound to underscore the essence of the naira redesign policy generally.
The group declared as unacceptable for Nigeria to allow 80% of badly-needed cash outside commercial banks because this has so far had damaging consequences on the national economy.
The CBN, Dambatta said, should be allowed to follow this process up to the point of regaining full control over money supply.
“This is necessary, at least in view of our worrisome inflation, which reached 20.7 per cent in September 2022, according to media reports,” he said.
Dambatta noted that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, admitted that as at September 2022, Nigerian banking system had N3.23 trillion in circulation, adding that of this amount, N2.73 trillion was now outside commercial bank vaults or hidden by some citizens in crude forms.
“Our independent investigation has confirmed that the CBN wants to first and foremost mop up that N3.32 trillion back into the system, to enable the apex bank take control of money supply again, and begin to see how such a strategy will help rein in inflation.
“We also wish to draw the attention of Nigerians to the fact that the CBN has acted within limits of its monetary policy powers, on this naira redesign policy. The management of the CBN relied of section 2(b), section 18(a), and section 19(a)(b) of the CBN Act 2007; and had duly sought and obtained President Muhammadu Buhari’s approval to proceed with releasing and circulation of new series of N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes,” he added.
The group also shared the Senate’s position as captured by the committee Chairman on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions, Senator Uba Sani (Kaduna Central) that the CBN’s action would address counterfeiting due to the prolonged use of the same notes, adding that nulling the cash outside the banks would augur well for the economy as monetary policy decision making would be easier and that less notes, especially outside the banking system, would curb terrorism financing.
“We agree with Uba Sani that the less cash available outside the banking system will reduce corrupt practices engendered by cash exchanges,” Dambatta said.
The group also described the mandatory “aggressive” monitoring of the redesign process by the Senate committee as a commendable step.
“We wish to also commend President Muhammadu Buhari, his Chief Economic Adviser and Central Bank Governor, Dr. Godwin Emefiele; the Senate’s Banking and Finance Committee leadership and other relevant stakeholders for this well thought out policy, without prejudice to those opposed to the policy for political reasons or ignorance of the difference between monetary policy and fiscal policy.
“We also hereby announce our willingness to voluntarily join stakeholders in redoubling efforts towards sustaining the tempo of public enlightenment on naira redesign and related issues.
“As a group, we hereby declare the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele our Man of The Year for the trillions of naira agricultural support funds and empowerment of owners of small scale and medium enterprises in our region and indeed Nigeria. Furthermore, he successfully led Nigeria out of recession twice,” he added.
According to him, it was heartwarming to many discerning observers, that the current CBN management had done well towards funding support for agriculture, small scale and medium enterprises in northern Nigeria more than ever before in the region’s economic history.