Obstinate Sanusi And The N5,000 Note


Nigeria’s Central Bank Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi appears to be determined to introduce the N5,000 bank note in spite of the outcry of the majority of Nigerians against this fiscal policy. As unpopular as the policy is, Sanusi has reportedly shortlisted three foreign firms to actualise his desire to print the controversial bank note and change the existing N5, N10 and N20 notes to coins. Many see it as a ploy to further devalue the naira which is currently struggling against other currencies.

His recalcitrance, despite the advice by the Senate to stay action, borders on the powers he is drawing from the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Act of 2007. Sections 17, 18 and 19 specifically empowers the CBN to print bank notes without recourse to permission from any quarters except the President. And President Goodluck Jonathan has already given his nod to this project which many believe will worsen the inflation in the country.

To demonstrate his seriousness despite the strident outcry across the country against the introduction of the N5,000 note, Sanusi has called for tenders for the production of the N5, N10 and 20 coins while three foreign firms, Delarue of Britain, D&G of Germany and Orbether of France, are said to have been shortlisted to print the N5,000 bill.  As it is, the outcry of Nigerians does not matter to Sanusi and Jonathan, even as any layman knows the adverse implications of introducing such a big note and changing some existing currency denominations to coins.

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Former CBN governor, Chukwuma Soludo converted some notes to coins and they have since disappeared from circulation. Instead of strengthening the existing notes to shore up the value of the naira, Sanusi is seeking the perceived easy way out which will definitely further hurt the economy and negate the so-called cashless policy he is mouthing. It is on record that each time higher currency denominations are introduced into circulation, the rate of inflation soars. So, the argument by Sanusi that the introduction of the big bank note has nothing to do with inflation because it just has to do with measuring the value of the currency is a cock and bull story he should tell the marines.

Going ahead with this project shows clearly that Sanusi is toeing the path of President Jonathan, who does not listen to the people or consult widely when he wants to implement policies that impact their lives directly. We insist that whatever agenda Sanusi is pursuing, he should shelve the plan and rather implement salutary measures that would improve the value of the naira. The hardship being faced by the majority of Nigerians will worsen if Sanusi goes ahead with his anti-people project.

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