Adewole Adebayo, presidential candidate of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), has faulted the currency redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Adebayo opined while speaking on Channels Television in an interview on Sunday.
Recall, on October 26, 2022, Godwin Emefiele, CBN governor, announced the plan to redesign the biggest denominations of the country’s currency to control the money supply and aid security agencies in tackling illicit financial flows.
Emefiele had said the new notes (N200, N500, and N1000) would be effective from mid-December 2022, advising customers to deposit their old notes before January 31, 2023, when they would cease to be legal tender.
The January 31 deadline sparked controversies as many Nigerians could not access the new naira notes.
On Sunday, Emefiele said President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the extension of the phase-out to February 10.
“Based on the foregoing, we have sought and obtained Mr President’s approval for the following: a 10-day extension of the deadline from January 31, 2023, to February 10, 2023; to allow for the collection of more old notes legitimately held by Nigerians and achieve more success in cash swap in our rural communities after which all old notes outside the CBN loses their Legal Tender Status,” the CBN governor had said.
NO POLICY, PROJECT MANAGEMENT PARAMETERS BEHIND NAIRA REDESIGN’
Speaking during the interview, the SDP presidential candidate said there were no policy or project management parameters behind the currency redesign initiative.
He said the process of currency swap should not be “chaotic”, noting that the currency is central to the economy.
“There is no policy behind it. There was no planning, definition of stakeholders, or project management parameters. No timeline and simulation done,” he said.
“The process is not supposed to be chaotic. The economy is a sensitive thing. Currency is so central to the economy because it is the means of exchange.”
Adebayo criticised the CBN governor for seeking the approval of the president for a one-week extension, adding that the apex bank should not be “subject to political interpretation”.
The SDP presidential candidate said Emefiele should have consulted with the board of the apex bank on the currency redesign rather than the president, who he said is a “political leader”.
“The CBN is not supposed to be allowing itself to be subject to political interpretation,” he said.
“Even this idea of going to the president to take permission for a one-week extension, none of that is …there is a board of governors for the CBN that is supposed to deal with the internal business of the CBN.
“With all due respect, for every ailment of this election, there is INEC, DSS, and police. You don’t want to give the CBN a role to play in the management of the election.
“To say, I have gone to take instruction and permission from the president to add more 10 days, that is not how to run the CBN with all due respect.
“The idea is not something that the changing of currency is emanating from a political person, which is the president.
“The idea is that the CBN belongs to all of us whether there is a change of government, party, or person.
“It looks like the governor of the CBN should rather be working in the presidency as a special adviser or something.
“I don’t want the CBN to look like an extension of the politics of Nigeria”.