The Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), on Friday, criticised the planned restructuring of the currency by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
In a statement by its spokesperson, Rotimi Fashakin, the party said it disagrees with the development because it will be hinder Nigeria?s fight against bribery and corruption; adding that the introduction of a higher denomination is “antithetical to the much-touted cash-less economy”.
?In fact, the era of ‘Ghana-must-go bags’ dwindled with the introduction of the N500 and N1000 notes in the past,” he stated. “It became easier to carry millions of naira in moderately-sized brief cases and, inexorably, increasing the incidences of high-profile bribery scandals in the polity.
Recently, we witnessed the allegations and counter-allegations of soliciting for and receipt of bribe money levied against certain highly influential politicians in the country. It is axiomatic to infer that those transactions were opaque to the banking system because of the facilitating ambience of high currency notes. We insist that the introduction of N5000 currency notes shall further exacerbate the corruption tendencies in the Nigerian polity.
Whilst we agree with the CBN that printing of notes is more expensive than minting coins, it is difficult to believe that the solution lies in converting the N5, N10 and N20 notes to coins. First, the cultural values of the Nigerian people do not favour use of coins. The question is: how did we fare with the previous conversion of 50k, N1 and N2 notes to coins??
The party also accused the CBN of courting inflation by the development; adding that it would also further obliterate the middle class.
While announcing the new changes, expected to take effect in January 2013, the CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi, said a higher denomination would complement the cash-less economy policy, as it would drastically reduce the volume of currency in circulation.
While reacting to the CBN governor?s statement that various segments of the Nigerian state shall be encouraged to create avenues for the usage of coins, the party said: “As plausible as this may sound, the question is: what efforts have been made in the past to mobilise these segments of the state on the usage of coins and what has been the success rate? Furthermore, with the huge mobilisation against the pasting of naira notes on persons at get-together ceremonies, have we succeeded in stamping out this vice?”
?Call CBN to order,? ANPP tells Jonathan
Meanwhile, the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) in its own reaction has called on the Federal Government to call the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to order on its plans to introduce N5,000 note and to convert the N5, N10 and N20 polymer notes to coins.
The party, which also decried plans to redesign the N50, N100, N200, N500 and N1,000 notes to improve their security features, said such a step ?is another clear path to inflation and resultant suffering on the part of the hapless citizens of this great nation.?
The ANPP?s National Publicity Secretary, Emma Eneukwu, in a statement made available on Friday, condemned the initiative, saying government should mandate the apex bank to streamline the resources that would be wasted on the exercise into more people-friendly fiscal projects with the aim of reviving the fast-waning confidence of the masses in the government.
According to him, it is an established fact that the Nigerian populace is averse to the use of coins, and therefore the decision by the Federal Government to convert some lower denomination notes to coins smells of a premeditated agenda to further mop up cash from the nation and whip the Nigerian people in the process.
?In fact, one does not need an economics professor to know that this move will eventually cripple the value of the naira. Countries like Japan, Germany and Singapore do not have strong currencies because they printed higher denominations. Going cashless has nothing to do with printing N5,000, but everything to do with introducing valid strategies for redirecting the nation?s commercial transactions into the virtual space,? the ANPP said.
?Right now, what the CBN and the Federal Government should be engaged in is establishing a clear and comprehensive electronic fraud management framework, as well as delineating of responsibility among key stakeholders, and advocating enabling laws that will inspire confidence in the country?s e-payment network, both locally and internationally; not to saddle the helpless masses with more burdens.?