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Buhari takes Emefiele’s side on naira redesigning

By Monsurudeen Olowoopejo

President Muhammadu Buhari has taken the side of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in an ongoing row between the apex bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, and Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmad, over a decision to redesign Naira and send it into circulation on December 15.

Buhari said that Emefiele did not take decision on currency redesigning unilaterally, but rather acted on his approval and that it was issued after he was convinced that the measure would address some of the challenges affecting the country’s economy.

He added that the strategy would further bring back more money outside the country’s economy and further stimulate business development across the country.

The president, who made his stance known publicly through a statement released by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, on Sunday, stressed that he did not consider the period of three months for the currency change as being short.

According to the statement, Buhari said that the decision of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to launch new designs and replace high-value Naira notes had his support and is convinced that the nation will gain a lot by doing so.

“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.

”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.”

Before the president’s statement, the Minister had said that she and the Minister of State for Finance were not aware of the policy, saying they only heard of it from the media.

“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,” she added.

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