CBN to Finance Minister Ahmed: Buhari approved redesign of naira notes


Minister of Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed and Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said it duly sought and got the permission of President Muhammadu Buhari to redesign the N200, N500 and N1000 naira notes.

The apex bank said this while reacting to claims by the Minister of Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, that her Ministry was not consulted before the decision to the naira notes was announced.

Godwin Emefiele, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria had at a press conference on Wednesday announced the plan to redesign the naira notes.

According to Emefiele, the newly redesigned notes will start circulating from December 2022.

But while appearing before a senate committee at the National Assembly on Friday, the Finance Minister said said CBN did not consult her ministry before taking the decision to redesign naira notes.

“We were not consulted. It was an announcement that we heard. Part of the reasons that was advocated is that it is one of the ways to mop up the liquidity to manage inflation.

“But there are also consequences – we are looking at what the consequences will be. There will be some benefits but there will be some challenges,” said the Minister.

But in its reply, the CBN said it was not obliged to consult the Minister before the redesign of the naira notes, according to its Act.

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CBN Spokesman Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, who expressed surprise claim in a statement said in line with provisions of section 2(b), section 18(a), and section 19(a)(b) of the CBN Act 2007, the apex bank duly sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari in writing to redesign, produce, release and circulate new series of N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes.

Speaking on the need for the action, the apex bank said currency management in the country had faced several escalating challenges which threatened the integrity of the currency, the CBN, and the country.

Nwanisobi further noted that every top-rate Central Bank was committed to safeguarding the integrity of the local legal tender, the efficiency of its supply, as well as its efficacy in the conduct of monetary policy.

Nwanisobi also explained that the CBN had even tarried for too long considering that it had to wait 20 years to carry out a redesign, whereas the standard practice globally was for central banks to redesign, produce and circulate new local legal tender every five to eight years.

He assured Nigerians that the currency redesign exercise was purely a central banking exercise and not targeted at any group

The CBN spokesman also expressed optimism that the effort will, among other goals, deepen Nigeria’s push to entrench a cashless economy in the face of increased minting of the eNaira.

He added that the initiative will also help to curb acts of terrorism and kidnapping being facilitated by large volume of money outside the banking system being used for ransom payments.

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