The General Director of the Center for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), Muda Yusuf, has criticized Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for his defiance of protests by public institutions to extend the deadline for phasing out old naira notes.

The CEO spoke on the weekly episode of PREMIUM TIMES TwitterSpaces titled “Shortage of new banknotes ahead of January deadline and implications for Nigerians.”

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This week’s edition of the show, the first to take place this year, featured Mr. Yusuf; the CEO of Global Analytics Consulting Limited, Tope Fasua; Abuja’s Iyaloja, Toyin Badmus and other stakeholders appear as guest speakers amid persistent laments from Nigerians across the country over grossly inadequate circulation of new banknotes ahead of the January 31 deadline.

Yusuf said it has become very obvious that the central bank has grossly underestimated what it takes to execute this transition from the old to the new notes.

“So I think the logical thing to do is to extend it. We are in a democracy, the CBN cannot afford to continue to despise our democratic institutions as it has done until now”.

He added that Nigerians have seen clear evidence of lack of capacity regarding bank production because if something is available in adequate supply it would show up and otherwise it would remain obvious as is the current case with Nigerians. .

“So clearly we’re dealing with an acute shortage situation, that’s when you relate what’s available to the demand for the new notes. Even until last week, last Friday, some banks and ATMs were still dispensing old banknotes,” Yusuf lamented.

Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Godwin Emefiele, Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

He explained that the current situation is not the result of a lack of attempts by citizens, but the consequences of the inability and lack of capacity of the banking system to respond to the exponential demands for new banknotes.

“So if that is the case, I think the logical thing to do would have been to extend the date. I was really shocked and amazed when I heard the CBN governor during the MPC meeting saying that he has no good news for us that the deadline stands,” the CEO said.

Yusuf said that the new banknote shortage crisis is not the work of the Nigerians but the CBN.

“From the beginning, I have challenges even with the redesign proposal itself. Redesign is good. But when you contextualize it within the priorities that this economy needs right now, it’s the least of our problems. I’m not saying it’s undesirable, but you put things in the context of your priorities,” he added.

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In recent weeks, Nigerian citizens and money deposit banks across the country have lamented their inability to access the newly designed naira notes. As the January 31 deadline for the phase-out of the old notes approaches, the cash-dependent informal sector of the economy has had to scramble for the new notes.

While this remains, many Nigerians on social media have expressed reservations about the circulation of the new notes, with many furious that they have yet to see or feel the new naira notes.

Others have also complained about hoarding by commercial banks, while some mobile ATM vendors are said to be exploiting the situation by hawking the new note.

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Amidst this, both houses of the National Assembly have requested the CBN to extend the deadline for the acceptance of old Naira notes.

READ ALSO: Naira Redesign: Yobe Governor Appeals To CBN To Extend Deadline

However, earlier in the week, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, after the main bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja, insisted that the January 31 deadline the main bank announced for the validity of the old N200, N500 and N1 There are ,000 tickets left.

Mr. Emefiele stated that kidnap and ransom incidents have decreased since the three notes were redesigned, arguing that the time given for the exchange of the old naira notes for new ones was enough for Nigerians to obtain the new notes. from commercial banks without much pressure. .

main concerns

Due to CBN’s hesitancy to change base in timeframes despite various appeals from public institutions and governors from all parties in the country, Mr. Yusuf expressed concern about CBN’s action and its implication for the economy.

“The House of Representatives appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Senate appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Governors also did the same and yet the CBN says there is no going back on the deadline. That worries me a lot about how much power the CBN thinks they have over the sovereignty of this country,” he said.

“In today’s average market, about 50 percent of the coins in those markets are old notes. So how are we going to deal with it if you insist we won’t extend it?

Based on this, the policy analyst said that there is no other option than for the CBN to extend its deadlines.

“This is a democracy, we are not in a military regime and if someone is in public office, they are supposed to be a public servant. Public office holders are supposed to serve the people, not the other way around, and they are supposed to respond to the needs of the people as long as those needs are legitimate,” he said.

“And you can see across the country the kind of crisis that it is creating.”

In his speech, Mr. Fasua argued that many people were against CBN’s policy of redesigning naira banknotes and would want the policy reversed.

“Why they would want the reversal of the policy is what I don’t understand,” he said.

The economist explained that part of the problem is that many banks have closed some of their branches due to certain challenges, especially in rural areas.

In such situations, he suggested that the CBN could have deployed officers to different places in Nigeria, especially places with a large population of unbanked Nigerians.

Commenting further, he suggested that President Muhammadu Buhari wants the policy to succeed because he wants it to be a kind of legacy that he would leave behind when his term comes to an end.

“Just like he did in 1984, he wants this policy to prosper and I think he also wants it to be a linchpin for saying he had a clean and fair election in 2023,” he said.

Fasua said that he disagrees with people who say that the CBN naira redesign policy comes at the wrong time because of the policy.

“This cash handling policy is 18 years out of date. In fact, we should ask the CBN what they have been doing that they have not been able to manage our currency for 18 years since 2005,” he argued.


Speaking, the Iyaloja (Head) of the Abuja market women, Toyin Badmus, said that the new banknotes are not available for market women in the capital city.

“The new ticket is not available. I pray that we do not enter into a crisis with this situation. The small dealers are not collecting the old banknotes. The products of the merchants who sell perishable products are rotting in the market, ”he said.

Ms Badmus said she doesn’t understand the reason behind the urgency to remove old notes, but the market women need some time to implement the policy effectively.

He said that many people in the market do not go to the bank.

“There are some people who make daily sales and save their cash. So I don’t know what they want these groups of people to do,” she said.

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