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Naira Redesign: Experts say CBN deadline insensitive, spells doom for country’s economy

Naira Redesign: Experts say CBN deadline insensitive, spells doom for country’s economy

As the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, deadline to phase out old naira notes approaches on January 31, 2023, economic experts say that refusing to extend the deadline is insensitive and would spell doom for the country’s economy.

The call adds to others made by stakeholders, including the National Assembly, to extend the deadline for old naira notes to remain legal tender.

The Senate asked the CBN in December to move the deadline from January 31 to June 1. During a plenary, the upper chamber made this call in response to a motion proposed by Senator Ali Ndume and supported by his colleagues.

The speed with which the apex implements the naira redesign policy in less than three months leaves more to wonder as fear of a real crisis heightens.

When contacted, the CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, Mr Osita Nwanisobi, said he was indisposed to reply to the inquiry on the naira redesign deadline because he was attending the bank’s Monetary Policy Meeting.

Speaking on the development, the CEO of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, CPPE, Dr Muda Yusuf, said it would be insensitive if CBN insists on the 31 January, 2023, deadline.

According to him, the apex bank needs to be more realistic about the deadline based on the apparent adequacies and logistics gaps.

He said if CBN insists on implementing the 31 January deadline, it will infringe on citizens’ fundamental human rights.

Read Also: NFG Invites Emiefele For Meeting Over New Naira Notes

A financial expert, Mr Idakolo Gbolade, said the CBN 31 January deadline is not feasible.

He stated that the CBN deadline extension would accelerate the policy implementation nationwide.

He said, “If the CBN does not flood the country with the new notes and even use other means of exchanging it for Nigerians apart from the commercial banks, I do not foresee a successful policy implementation in a week to the deadline.

“The CBN just came up with the cash swap policy for rural areas last week to exchange the old notes for the new ones. The cash swap policy will only succeed if the deadline is extended.

“I am now concluding that the deadline is punitive and could cause some uninformed Nigerians significant loss if the dynamics remain the same.”

Also, an Accounting and Financial Development don at Lead City University, Ibadan, Prof Godwin Oyedokun, said the deadline extension is inevitable.

According to him, Nigerians should not suffer the inefficiency of CBN and those responsible for governance.

The CBN announced late last year, precisely October 26, the naira redesign policy, and barely a month after, 23 November, President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the new naira notes, followed by its circulation on 15 December.

The apex bank issued a directive to commercial banks to ensure that their ATMs dispense only the banknotes. But many banks continued to defy the order.

In less than seven days to the 31 January deadline, the old naira notes are the majority currency in circulation nationwide.

Although the CBN has carried out several initiatives, including its latest cash-swap programme, the calls for extending the deadline have become too loud to ignore.

Naira Redesign: Experts say CBN deadline insensitive, spells doom for country’s economy

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