President Muhammadu Buhari on Sunday threw his weight behind the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to launch new designs and replace high-value Naira notes, announcing his support for the mobe and his conviction that the nation will gain a lot by doing so.
This was revealed in a terse statement issued by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity).
The statement disclosed that Buhari gave the backing to the apex bank while speaking in a Hausa radio interview to be aired Wednesday morning on Tambari TV on Nilesat.
According to the statement, President Buhari said reasons given to him by the CBN convinced him that the economy stood to benefit from a reduction in inflation, currency counterfeiting, and the excess cash in circulation.
He said he did not consider the period of three months for the change to the new notes as being short.
”People with illicit money buried under the soil will have a challenge with this but workers, businesses with legitimate incomes will face no difficulties at all,” the statement quoted the President as saying.
It also revealed that in the interview, the President also addressed issues of food security and national security, among others.
Recalled that the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, had last week told the Senate Committee on Finance, that she was not consulted over the decision by the CBN,
warning that the new notes could have dire consequences on the value of the Naira.
Responding to a question posed by the Chairman of the Committee, Opayemi Bamidele, the Finance Minister, who stressed that she was airing her personal opinion, said that the CBN did not carry her Ministry along in its plan to redesign and roll out new N200, N500 and N1000 notes from effective December 15.
The minister, who clarified that her position was a personal opinion, said she and her Ministry were not aware of the policy but 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, a Nigerian privileged to be at the top of Nigeria’s fiscal management, the policy as rolled out at this time, portends serious consequences for the value of Naira to 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.”