✕ CLOSE Online Special City News Entrepreneurship Environment Factcheck Everything Woman Home Front Islamic Forum Life Xtra Property Travel & Leisure Viewpoint Vox Pop Women In Business Art and Ideas Bookshelf Labour Law Letters
Click Here To Listen To Trust Radio Live

Naira redesign and matters arising

Let me begin this with a disclaimer. I am a registered card-carrying member of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP). Let me also make it…

Let me begin this with a disclaimer. I am a registered card-carrying member of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP). Let me also make it abundantly clear that my party and I are not against the Naira redesign policy. In fact, no sane human will. In the 21st century, we should go the way of the world. A cashless policy is the norm and has become the mainstay of most economies, both developed and developing. I applaud President Muhammadu Buhari for his resolve, determination and commitment to conducting a free, fair, and credible election. There is the possibility that, if conducted successfully, these might be the talk about the legacy of the president.

Having said this, let me add that for a country of almost a million square kilometres, the time allotted to the policy is not just sufficient but practically impossible to cover within the period given. And this must be appreciated from the background of the level of the general inefficiencies of our system and how such reforms can be resisted, and in some instances outrightly thwarted.

Available data from the National Bureau of Statistics show that most households have an average of a minimum of five persons. What this clearly signifies is that most people struggle daily to get by. Living in Nigeria, daily, in itself is a challenge. This is something that the various political shades seeking power acknowledge hence, the litany of issues they promised to do when elected into office.

The 1999 Constitution as amended accounts for the equality of states as per federalism, but even the blind can see that Lagos State in the South West for instance is not equal to Yobe State in the North East, or Ebonyi in the South East to Kano in the North West. Clearly, Lagos is much more urbanised than Yobe and the same is true for Kano and Ebonyi. What this invariably means is that Lagos is more likely to have better banking services than Yobe. The same argument can be made for Kano and Ebonyi. The service penetration is not the same and the data on banking services in Nigeria clearly shows this. In a sense, the more sophisticated a banking service is, the more urban it is located. This is certain of major innovations in banking services, which again follow the logic of where money is concentrated.

While it is true that every government policy should be made for the benefit of the people, let me quickly examine the Central Bank of Nigeria’s cashless policy vis-à-vis the unintended negative consequences and suffering it brought to the very people it claims to serve. And it must be repeated here that this is by no means an attack on the policy itself, as some have.

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr  Godwin Emefiele, on countless occasions, explained the objectives of the Naira redesign policy and on no account did he make claims that are of political or non-economic reasons. The policy was purely monetary with expected positive economic outcomes for Nigeria. However, as all policies do, particularly when not thought through, they tend to become victims of their unintended consequences. The apex bank may have had good intentions to deliver on an otherwise operable monetary policy, but has the implementation created enumerable situations and countless hardships?

The unintended consequences of the Naira redesign policy are in the numbers, but what is amazing is the “neglect” or negligence by the Central Bank officials whilst framing the policy, the list of what could go wrong. A part of the nitty-gritty of general housekeeping of public policymaking is ‘IF.’

Across the country, Nigerians are standing in long queues at ATM galleries attempting to access the new currency notes. We have also seen videos of Nigerians stripping naked in banking halls, shouting and crying to access their own money. The comics in these, including the number of fights breaking out in banking premises and all the attendant hardships, beg the question. The failure in the exercise can be seen in the level of exploitation of citizens who try to access their own money from POS operators and various money agents.

The only hope of the suffering traders, fishermen, civil servants, students and market women of Nigeria now is the Supreme Court exercising its original jurisdiction in the case of Attorneys-General of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamora States vs. Attorney General of the Federation.

Nigerians’ problems have never been the lack of brilliant ideas and plans, but the implementation of it. It is against this background that I humbly call on President Muhammad Buhari to urgently address the issues caused by the Naira redesign by allowing the old notes and new ones to coexist side by side, otherwise, the very people whom you want to serve will be heading to their early graves in millions as a result of the unintended hardship. By the way, the people elected you and it is profitable to listen to their cries.

Abdullahi wrote from Abuja.

VERIFIED: It is now possible to live in Nigeria and earn salary in US Dollars with premium domains, you can earn as much as $12,000 (₦18 Million).
Click here to start.