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Columnist: Yes, change the Naira notes


Since the Central Bank Governor announced the federal government’s decision to redesign some of our Naira denomination, there have been panic in the land.The panic and uproar greeted by the new policy change will definitely or eventually have implications on the nation’s economy basically because our economy is more of cash and carry.While the ‘have nots’ are celebrating the decision to change the naira, those who ‘haves’ and ‘have much’ are shocked while trying to arm twist the Central Bank by saying they did not get approval for the redesignation by the finance minister. The Bank was able to prove that it had the ordacity to carry out such duties and need not to seek permission from the Minister, those grumbling went to the streets with the news that President Buhari was not consulted.Baba came out to counter that claim that he is in full support. Meaning, that there was no way such a decision would have been made by the CBN governor alone without all relevant parties being officially notified.Why the decision to change the currency? Be it political or economic, there are fears that criminals such as kidnappers, money launderers and the counterfeiters who may be the prime target of this redesigned notes are clever and smart, and may be able to circumvent being trapped. For instance, many of these economic saboteurs are alleged to be using their slush funds to buy real estate, exotic vehicles, jewellery and ornaments, with the hope of disposing these assets off after the new banknotes would have effectively been in circulation. Many others are converting their Naira into foreign currencies such as Dollar, Euros and British Pound Sterling.But the CBN said the decision to replace the notes was to reduce inflation, combat counterfeiting and bring more money into circulation. The central bank says the move will put more money in circulation because an estimated 85 percent of all money in Nigeria is stashed away in homes, outside the banking system.The CBN also says the new notes will help authorities curb fake currencies in circulation and keep criminals in check. “They will discourage ransom payment as large volumes of money won’t be accessed”.Does this policy pronouncement and its implementation has winners and losers? Sure there are losers and winners especially that the decision was taking in an election year. Already news of some state governors planning to undertake table payment is making the waves while some building in Abuja that are housing currency instead of human being are being exposed.More happenings are expected in the next few weeks as those who have stocked the notes in their homes are busy looking for ways of exchanging their note and make it legitimate.The EFCC needs to engage more and put-up incentives that the ordinary Nigerian will get for whistle blowing. The Banks need to be properly schooled on how to guard against those who will want to tamper with the directives. A man who had never deposited one million naira suddenly came up with millions to deposit, questions must be ask.One of the governors has just increased his personal aides and assistants to over 200,000, in this country where so many graduates are out there looking for jobs but can’t get. I hope the CBN directives has nothing to do with or influence the appointments of those assistants.For the average Nigerian, the decision by the Buhari administration to redesign the notes is the best thing this government has done. The people are willing and ready to go with government. Enough is Enough, those in charge of our collective wealth are growing on daily basis while hunger and lack is increasing.Minimum wage is below N50,000. That alone can not transport a civil servant living in Nyanya to work in the federal secretariat and back for a month. The man may have a family who needs to feed, attend school among other needs. The man has become mentally deranged because his take home cannot take him home, but they are those in the city who built houses and stockpile it with cash.Nigeria should be the winner and the only credible winner from this exercise and to ensure that the benefit of this laudable exercise is felt by all Nigerians, certain measures needed to be put in place.As noted in time past, every government policy has winners and losers but if the winners are more in number and the end point of the policy will bring about good ending why should we not support it with both hands and legs.

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