The Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), Muda Yusuf, on Sunday said the 10-day extension given by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the phasing out of old naira notes isn’t ‘adequate’.
In a statement on Sunday, Mr Yusuf criticised the CBN over the numerous gaps identified in the implementation of its naira redesign policy.
“The CPPE believes that 10 days is grossly inadequate to make up for the glaring shortcomings of the apex bank in this process,” the statement said.
The CBN on Sunday announced a 10-day extension of the deadline for the use of old naira notes across Nigeria amidst complaints from Nigerians over the scarcity of the new notes ahead of the 31 January deadline.
The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, who spoke to journalists Sunday morning, said he had the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari for the extension.
Mr Emefiele also announced 10 February as the new deadline for the phasing out of the old notes.
Earlier at the weekly episode of PREMIUM TIMES’ TwitterSpaces titled “ New Notes scarcity vs. January deadline and the implications for Nigerians” held Saturday, Mr Yusuf had criticised Nigeria’s Central Bank (CBN) over its defiant reaction to the outcry from key institutions and many Nigerians affected by its policy.
He said it has become very obvious that the apex bank has grossly underestimated what it takes to execute this transition from the old notes to the new notes.
“We (Nigerians) have seen clear evidence of lack of capacity with respect to production from the CBN because if something is available in adequate supply it would show and if otherwise, it will still be obvious as it is currently the case with Nigerians,” he said.
“Clearly we are dealing with a situation of acute shortage, that’s when you relate what’s made available to the demand for the new notes. Even up to last Friday, some banks and ATMs were still dispensing the old notes.”
He explained that the current situation is not a result of a lack of trying on the part of the citizens, but the aftermath of the banking system’s inability and lack of capacity to respond to the exponential demands for new notes.
Threats to national security
Also reacting to the CBN 10-day extension, Dairy Hills Limited CEO, Kelvin Emmanuel, said: “I think the National Security Council has prevailed on the President to ask the CBN to extend the deadline, and I expect him to continue extending the deadline in increments to avoid a pandemonium that will threaten national security.”
READ ALSO: Naira Redesign: CBN can’t continue to snub Nigerians
Mr Emmanuel said about 55 per cent of Nigeria’s population is unbanked, adding that there are just four banks, 25 ATMs and 170 POS machines per 100, 000 Nigerians.
He explained further that Nigeria does not have sufficient telecom and Internet infrastructure to power adequate banking across Nigeria, and this is also because there are high-security risk areas that make the business case and insurance premiums for setting up these infrastructures unviable.
The expert said financial inclusion is not something you can force, but something that can only be incentivised, and that section 20(3) of the CBN Act gives the people the right to still bring in their currency notes into the banking system in the event of a currency swap.
“The CBN cannot outlaw legal tender without sufficient notice,” he added.
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