Twenty-four hours after President Goodluck Jonathan bowed to public opinion by suspending the controversial plan to introduce N5000 note into the economy, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Lamido Sanusi, has announced he is complying with the presidential directive to halt the policy.
In a statement late Friday, the CBN’s Director of Corporate Comunications, Ugo Okoroafor, said the bank was suspending the plan pending a new directive from the president.
“The CBN hereby informs the general public that the President, on Thursday, September 20, 2012, directed that further action on the approved restructuring exercise be stopped,” Mr. Okoroafor said.
“In full compliance with the provisions of the law, the CBN hereby announces that further action on the said restructuring exercise has been stopped, until such a time Mr. President may direct otherwise.”
The bank said in line with the CBN Act, it embarked on the currency restructuring exercise, dubbed “Project Cure” on December 19, 2011, after obtaining Mr. Jonathan’s approval.
Mr. Okoroafor said the policy was conceived to allow for more efficient payments and currency management systems in the country, but that no contract had been awarded for the printing of the proposed new currency and coins.
“Consequently, no currency note or coin has been printed or minted under the proposed exercise,” the statement said.
It added, “In line with its mandate, the CBN remains committed to the pursuit of policies and programmes aimed at promoting the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.”
President Jonathan had on Thursday halted the plan to introduce the new currency denomination after meeting with the leadership of the National Assembly on Tuesday night.
As exclusively reported by PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday, the President had at the meeting yielded to opponents of the policy, saying “since it is the wish of the people” the policy can “be reversed”.
Mr. Jonathan’s spokesperson, Reuben Abati, had issued a statement on Wednesday night, saying the President had suspended the plan.
Mr. Abati, said “the introduction is being suspended for now to enable the CBN do more enlightenment on the issue.”
He said the suspension will enable the apex bank to do more in terms of enlightening Nigerians on why the proposal was made in the first place.
The plan by the Central Bank to restructure the naira, with the N5000 note as the highest denomination, had stirred intense controversy lasting weeks, with critics calling for a reversal.
The Senate and the House of Representatives, in separate resolutions on Tuesday, criticized the CBN and the government for insisting that the plan should go ahead.
The two chambers called for immediate suspension of the policy, saying it breached some federal laws and would trigger inflation.