The plan of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to start circulating newly redesigned N200, N500 and N1000 notes come December 15, 2022 has received mixed reactions from experts and Nigerians in general.
Governor Godwin Emefiele, who announced the plan, gave many reasons for the decision. Some of the reasons are to control inflation, discourage naira hoarding and make it difficult for terrorists and kidnappers to collect/spend ransom. He also noted that the redesign of the naira was long overdue.
This policy move is notably coming at a time when the naira has lost a significant portion of its value.
Reacting to the CBN’s plan, Mr Tajudeen Olayinka, the Chief Executive Officer of Wyoming Capital and Partners told Nairametrics that the monetary authorities just want to use the initiative to push the old naira out of the system to increase people’s interest in the e-Naira.
He was quoted as saying, “It is a way to boost the e-Naira, it is a way of taking quantum money out of circulation to encourage people to embrace the e-Naira and help curb inflation indirectly. It will not fight inflation but it can achieve some points.”
Mr David Adonri, the Executive Vice Chairman of Hicap Securities Limited, said the move was unnecessary as it cannot fix the issues bedevilling the economy.
He said, “It is a motion without movement. The implication is that it will cost more money to print the new currency in a society already laden with heavy debt. It is like they have run out of ideas for fighting inflation and stabilizing the economy.
“Redesigning N200, N500, and N1000 naira notes is simply cosmetics to the solution on the ground; they should find a better way to bring the economy to a stable position.”
Also, reacting to the development is Mr Boniface Okezie, the National Coordinator of Progressive Shareholders Association questions the CBN governor’s idea.
He said: “Governor Godwin Emefiele has lost ideas for economic revival. He is now a confused man. Redesigning N200, N500, and N1000 naira notes will not stop the naira from losing value; it has no value any longer.
“He should look for better ideas. He should find out other ways to salvage the naira and make it return to its past glory. Redesigning the naira has no bearing on the economy; that will not bring down inflation. Naira is on a free fall, they should rather come up with better solutions than this cosmetic approach”
Omoyele Sowore, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress, demanded that the governor of the CBN be removed immediately because of this new policy direction.
Reacting on Twitter, Sowore said: “Central Bank of Nigeria to redesign banknotes N200, N500 and N1000 notes instead of boosting the value of the Naira. Jokers! It is time to fire the CBN Governor, Emefiele. #WeCantContinueLikeThis.”
Similar sentiment was shared by an expert who spoke to Africa Housing News on the condition of anonymity.
Xraying Mr Emefiele’s approach to tackling the various economic challenges, he said, “Emefiele does not have any sound economic idea. To arrest anyone who buys USD with naira, to cancel ATM, to reduce withdrawal on ATM to max of $20 while you are overseas; these ideas should not come out of someone holding that esteem position.”
Another commentator however praised the plan, He said, “It will devalue monies collect for ransom and reduce the trade in arms, drugs and give the naira some value for some time.”
Discussing how the policy will be effective, he added, “However, we must tighten our monetary policies, go cashless and reduce the quantity of big denominations by restricting them to inter-bank transactions.
Praising the policy initiative, he said, “Emefiele and Buhari got it right here. What we need to track now is how much it is costing us to change the looks of the bank notes and which contractors are handling it.”