The Nigerian central bank was, on Oct. 29, forced to defend its controversial currency redesign plans, just a few days after they were publicly questioned by Nigerian Finance Minister Zainab Ahmad. The central bank insists the move is long overdue and urged Nigerians “to support the currency redesign project which is in the overall interest of every citizen of the country.”

President Muhammadu Buhari’s Written Approval

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has insisted its recently announced plan to issue newly designed naira banknotes is above board and “12 years overdue.” In an apparent rebuke of Nigerian Finance Minister Zainab Ahmad, who has publicly questioned the plan, the central bank said it had “obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari in writing to redesign.”

Addressing lawmakers a day after the CBN’s surprise announcement, Ahmad reportedly said she had not been consulted and therefore could not comment “on it as regards merits or otherwise.” As recently reported by News, the CBN’s plan to introduce newly designed naira banknotes is thought to have sparked the local currency’s parallel market exchange rate plunge, where it tapped a new all-time low versus the dollar of N781:$1.

Opponents of the CBN’s controversial plan insist that going ahead with the move could see the naira-to-dollar exchange rate fall to as low as 1000 naira per dollar by the end of January 31, 2023. However, in a defiant statement issued on Oct. 29, 2022, the CBN asked Nigerians to support the currency redesign policy.

“The CBN urges Nigerians to support the currency redesign project which is in the overall interest of every citizen of the country. The hoarding of significant sums of banknotes outside the vaults of commercial banks should be discouraged by anyone who means well for the country,” the central bank said.

Currency Redesign a Global Standard

The CBN added that it had “tarried for too long considering that it had to wait 20 years to carry out a redesign.” The statement also repeats the bank’s earlier claims that the circulation of the redesigned naira is a standard practice globally that must be carried out every five to eight years.

The planned injection of new 100, 200, 500, and 1,000-naira banknotes into circulation is set to commence on December 15. Nigerians are expected to return the old notes by the end of January 2023. While critics of the currency redesign plan have called on the CBN to extend the deadline or drop the plan altogether, the latest local reports quote President Buhari expressing his support for the move.

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Economics, Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), currency hoarding, naira depreciation, naira exchange rate, naira redesign, President Muhammadu Buhari, Zainab AhmadRead More