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Naira Scarcity: Tinubu Advocates That Old and New Notes Co-Exist for One Year

He said himself and his running mate Kashim Shettima do not have anything against the CBN Naira redesign policy but its disruptive implementation and the hardship it has brought on the people.

The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria to take into consideration Nigeria’s council of state’s recommendations that both old and new Naira notes co-exist, to ease the currency’s scarcity and provide immediate relief to the populace.

“The CBN should announce that the old and new Naira notes (especially the non-withdrawn notes and coins) will co-exist as legal tender for the next 12 months to follow examples of countries that have successfully implemented similar monetary policy,” he said. 

“This will immediately remove growing tension in the country, eliminate panic reactions by the populace and allow time to scale up infrastructural gaps around alternative payment options to cash.” 

Tinubu explained that he has nothing against the naira redesign policy “in principle”. 

In a statement on Sunday, the APC candidate said his concern is about the hardship Nigerians are facing due to scarcity of cash.

He however expressed satisfaction with reports of improved petrol supply.

“While the scarcity arising from the supply limitations of the new naira notes is still with us, we are encouraged about reports that the fuel queues across the country are easing out as a result of better supply to fuel stations,” the statement reads.

“We are now confronted with how to bring quick, sustainable solution, and relief to Nigerians on the challenges still posed by the non-availability of new Naira notes, so that social and economic activities can move on unimpeded and normalcy can immediately return to our financial services sector and overall productivity of our nation.” 

On February 10, members of Nigeria’s council of state had asked the apex bank to make new naira notes available or recirculate old notes to ease the suffering of Nigerians.

Tinubu supported the position of the council, saying “we agree with the wisdom of the council of states as a necessary starting point to begin redressing the unintended consequences of what would have otherwise been a good policy that required mainstream adoption”. 

He clarified that himself and his running mate Kashim Shettima have nothing against the naira redesign and cashless policies. 

“For the records, I and my running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima and our campaign council do not have anything against the CBN Naira redesign and cashless policy in principle,” he said. 

“We are, however, only concerned about its disruptive implementation and the hardship it has brought on the generality of our people who currently can’t access their hard-earned money to meet obligations and the attendant consequences on the informal sector, where majority operate.  

“Despite the challenges and current difficulties, we are a country of resilient, bold and courageous people who don’t succumb to hard times.

“We have always overcome our most difficult times and come out better as a people and a nation. This time will not be different. We will make lemonade out of our current lemons.”

He further called for the immediate suspension of associated charges on online transactions, bank transfers, and payments via POS, until the current crisis is fully resolved. 

“This cost should be considered a roll-out expense by the CBN to incentivise the envisaged shift to alternative transaction channels; for both the financial services consuming public and those in charge of implementing the scale-up programme,” he said. 

He called for the mobilisation of all deposit money banks and payment platforms to show clear commitment and timelines on expanding their infrastructure and support services. 

“Bring in Fintech companies with capabilities into currency swap programme for the next 90 days to help decongest banking halls and ATM points where people line up for hours,” the presidential candidate added. 

“The Central Bank and other relevant MDA’s should form an Inter-Agency Action Committee for immediate oversight over the cash supply gaps from the Nigerian Security and Minting Company and deal with issues around capabilities and turn around time to meet the needs of the informal sector and unbanked people,” he said.

He advised the CBN, National Orientation Agency and Ministry of Information, as well as state and local governments to commence a major public enlightenment and sensitisation campaign to further educate citizens on the new naira and cashless policy.

Demola Ojo