The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that the redesign of some naira notes
which was approved by President Muhammadu Buhari, was done in the overall interest of the country and the economy.
The bank’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, Osita Nwanusobi, stated this in an address on Saturday at the CBN’s special day at the 44th Kaduna international trade fair.
He said the redesigned notes were not targeted at any individual as being insinuated in the public domain.
Nwanusobi urged Nigerians to embrace alternative payment channels such as eNaira and internet banking in the face of the cashless police.
Represented by Mohammed Abbah, Director, Capacity Development, he said a major challenge emerging countries such as Nigeria continue to face, is “our inability to seamlessly integrate into the global trading system largely due to the quality and technological content of the goods and services we produce for export.”
According to him, the CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has always has always emphasis that the redesign of the naira notes was “not targeted at anyone or any group of persons, rather, it derived from the Bank’s in-house analysis to strengthen macroeconomic fundamentals and better our socio-economic conditions.”
Nwanusobi said, “The principal aim of the bank, with the currency redesign initiative is to make our monetary policy decisions more efficacious.
“Nigerians will observe that there has been a downward trend in inflation and the exchange rates have been relatively stable.
“Furthermore, we aim to increase financial inclusion in the country by reducing the number of the unbanked population.
“Thirdly, our aim is to support the efforts of our security agencies in combating banditry and ransom-taking in Nigeria through this programme.”
According to him, “the CBN is not unmindful of the challenges some citizens have had to face in the past few weeks in efforts to get money from their banks or other alternative channels.
“Indeed, there have been reports of occasional transaction failures.
“However, we wish to assure you that the Nigerian payment system infrastructure is robust enough to handle the surging transaction volumes across all channels.
“We, therefore, urge Nigerians to embrace alternative payment channels, such as eNaira and internet banking, as we embrace the cashless policy.”
He added that the advantages of the currency redesign are overwhelmingly enormous and will benefit the economy in the long run.
The CBN spokesman said the bank, in line with its developmental function as stipulated in the ACBN Act, 2007, as amended, has been at the vanguard of promoting quality export through its Produce, Add Value and Export (PAVE) concept, which aims to make Nigerians consume what they produce, add value to such products and export the surpluses.
According to him, the PAVE option of the CBN is similar to the export-led industrialization policy South-East Asia, which transformed the economic fortunes of the Asian-Tigers-Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.
He said PAVE encourages backward integration for the local production of select items.
“Through PAVE, we seek to create a proper linkage between agriculture and the manufacturing sectors of the Nigerian economy while also providing a cushion against the volatility in crude oil production and export”, he added…
“I, therefore, urge entrepreneurs to ensure that their products and services are export-ready and can compete globally.”
He said over the years, the CBN had also been involved in correcting identified structural challenges of the Nigerian economy.
“Specifically, we have focussed mainly on stimulating productivity in the manufacturing sector, strengthening domestic industries, transforming agriculture output to ensure self-sufficiency and shield the local economy from harmful external shocks.
“Between 2015 and date, the CBN has released various sums to support intervention initiatives such as the Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (ABP), the Commercial Agriculture Credit Scheme (CACS), and the tertiary institutions entrepreneurship scheme (TIES).
“Similarly, the Bank has supported the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector, the Agribusiness/Small and Medium Enterprise Investment Scheme(AgSMEIS) and Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprise Development Fund (MSMEDF).
“Under the Export Development Fund (EDF).and Export Facilitation Initiative (EFI), the CBN has funded several projects for non-oil export commodity value-addition and production in excess of N11 billion and N3 billion, respectively…”
By John Shiklam in Kaduna