Group backs CBN on currency redesign, urges Nigerians to be patient
By Lucy Osuizigbo-Okechukwu
A civil society organisation, the Leadership Orientation and Basic Rights Advocacy Centre (LOBRAC), on Monday, said the currency redesign policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) would stabilise the nation’s economy.
Mr Stanley Okafor, President, LOBRAC, made the assertion at a sensitisation and advocacy briefing on the current policy of the CBN, in Awka.
Okafor said that the CBN’s demonetisation policy was innovative, timely and in line with the mandates of the CBN Act of 2007.
He said that the CBN Act mandated the institution to operate independently and in line with the objective of promoting stability and continuity in economic management.
“Section 17 and 20 (3) of the CBN Act says that the apex bank determines issuance of currency notes and has power, if directed by the President, to call in any of its notes or coin.
“So, the CBN has not done anything wrong by introducing this policy. It is for the public good because it will drain excess liquidity from the system, strengthen the value of the naira and stabilise our economy.
“The policy will control worsening incidents of criminality, banditry and ransom-taking that is contributing to stockpiling of our currency.
“Above all, the government is also interested in ensuring that the national and sub national elections is devoid of money influence by big pocket politicians,” he said.
Okafor said that the nature of demonetisation policy were short term discomforts, economic and financial shocks but had long term benefits.
According to him, within the long term, initial shocks are overcome and stable economic and financial regime resumes.
“Though, the current policy spelt immense hardship for ordinary Nigerians, we urge Nigerians to be patient, in the long run, we will enjoy the gains of the demonetisation policy.
“Nigeria is not the only country which has experienced demonetisation at short notice. India did it in Nov. 2016 even United Kingdom demonetised in 1971.
“As civil society, we want to educate our people on national issues such as this so that our ship of state does not capsize,” he said.
Also speaking, Dr Ken Ezeokoye, an Economist, said that the CBN policy was apt as there was high inflation and no money in the banks to give out loans.
“”This policy will help the CBN mop up the black money stocked up in houses and private vaults, ” he said
In his views, Mr Franklin Asiegbu, Secretary, LOBRAC, said the pains, hardship and sufferings that comes with the currency redesign policy is only for a short while.
According to him, Nigerians need to understand that this is a transition period that will help eradicate inflation and stabilise the economy.