Finance Minister opposes CBN’s plan to redesign naira.Adunni Adetola
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, on Friday disowned the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, on his proposed policy to redesign some of the nation’s currency notes on December 15, 2022.
The minister, who spoke during a meeting with the Senate Committee on Finance, disowned the currency redesign policy, warning that it would provoke negative consequences on the ailing economy.
Ahmad gave the warning on the policy while responding to a question raised by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central) during the 2023 budget defence session with the Senators, cautioning the apex bank of unpleasant outcomes.
Bamidele had in his question, told the Finance Minister that barely two days after announcement of the policy by the CBN authorities, Nigerians noticed a downward slide on the value of the naira to US dollar.
“Just two days after announcement of the policy, the value of the naira to a US dollar has risen from N740 to N788 due to rush in exchange of stashed naira notes for foreign currencies, particularly dollars.
“To me, the policy may be a well conceived one but the timing going by realities on ground is very wrong as the naira may fall to as low as N1,000 to a US dollar before January 31, 2023, fixed for full implementation of the policy,” he said.
However, while responding, the minister surprisingly claimed that she and her ministry were not aware of the policy but only heard of it from the mass media.
“Distinguished Senators, we were not consulted at the Ministry of Finance by the CBN on the planned naira redesigning and cannot comment on it as regards merits or otherwise.
“However, as a Nigerian privileged to be at the top of Nigeria’s fiscal management, the policy as rolled out at this time, portends serious consequences on the value of the naira to other foreign currencies.
“I will, however, appeal to this Committee to invite the CBN Governor for required explanations as regards merits of the planned policy and rightness or otherwise of its implementation now,” she said.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had on Wednesday, announced that the apex bank would redesign the country’s currency from N200 denomination to N1,000 notes.