Few days after the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) revealed plans to redesign the naira with the new notes which will be in circulation from December 15, 2022, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmad, has disavowed the policy.
While responding to Senator Opeyemi Bamidele’s comment during the 2023 budget defence session with the Senate Committee on Finance recently, the Minister warned the CBN of the consequences that may emanate from the move.
Bamidele told the Finance Minister that barely two days after the policy was announced by the CBN, the naira was already feeling the pressure with regard to its value against the U.S. dollar.
He said: “Just two days after the announcement of the policy, the value of naira to a U.S. dollar has risen from N740 to N788 due to the rush in exchange of starched naira notes for foreign currencies, particularly the dollar.
“To me, the policy may be a well-conceived one but the timing going by the realities on the 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.”
Shockingly, the Minister responded that she and the Minister of State for Finance were not aware of the policy and that they only heard of it from the media.
She said: “Distinguished Senators, we were not consulted at the Ministry of Finance by 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 against 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.”
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