The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, has berated the currency redesign plan of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), declaring that the action is purely political.
Recall that the CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, on October 26, announced the decision to redesign and release new N200, N500 and N1000 notes by December 15, 2022.
Responding to the issue which continues to divide opinions, Mr. Obaseki said there is no economic basis for the move besides trying to give some politicians undue advantage going into the 2023 general elections. He made known his position on the matter during the inauguration of the Peoples Democratic Party’s Women’s Campaign Management Council in Edo State on Wednesday, November 2, 2022.
In a message to the ruling party, Obaseki said: “I have said it before and I will say it again, if we continue with the APC government, this country will fail.
“APC has punished us enough; we cannot allow it to continue. They say we should bring out our Naira and give to them that they want to change it. Is that our priority? How does currency exchange reduce the price of food in the market?
“I am an economist and I can tell you categorically that this policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria has no basis in economics. This decision is purely political. When you decide to change your currency in such a roughshod manner 30 days before an election, all you can deduce is that this is purely political.
“There’s no urgency in changing our currency,” the Governor said, adding that “the urgency for us is how to get food for our citizens to reduce the poverty in the land. The urgency is on how to maintain discipline in our monetary policy so that we can manage our Forex rate because we are so import-dependent.”
Taking a dig at the aborted plan by the CBN Governor to run for President, Obaseki said “But they think they are smart. They wanted to be politicians, they don’t know how to be and now they are trying to use the tools in their office to manage the currency so that they can sway money to the people they want to before the elections. They can only try but they will not succeed.”
Addressing the women on their expected role in the campaign, Obaseki pointed out that women are very often the worst hit and left to bear the heavy burden of the poor decisions taken by the APC, which have brought economic and physical hardship to the people.
“When things go bad in a country as they are in Nigeria today; when people cannot afford to buy food; when floods are overtaking the homes of families, it is the women who suffer the most because they have to take care of not just themselves but the children and the rest of the family.
“When a society fails the biggest burden is on the women. By Christmas when people want to buy food, they will not be able to afford it.
“Almost one-fifth of the food we have cultivated in this country has now been washed away by flood. Imagine what will happen by December, and we say we have a government in this country? And these people say they want to continue? God forbid bad thing!” Obaseki declared.
Amidst concerns over the planned redesign of higher denomination Naira notes, the currency fell to an all-time low of 850 to the US Dollar, on Wednesday morning.
The apex bank said it would mop up currency notes outside of bank vaults with the aim of removing illicit money from circulation.
Immediately after Mr. Emefiele’s announcement, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, denounced the policy during the 2023 budget defense session before the Senate Committee on Finance saying “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”.
President Muhammadu Buhari was however quick to throw his support behind the CBN, saying he was convinced about the benefits of the planned redesign to the Nigerian economy.