By Kayode Oyedeji
When Tinubu spoke in Abeokuta on CBN Currency redesign, he spoke the minds of an average Nigerian on the need for the CBN and the Federal government to address the unintended consequences of the Apex Bank initiative.
The Naira Swap Policy has created a supply crisis that has unfortunately led to distortions within the economy, foisting needless hardship on the people and slowing down economic activities.
There is a solution to every problem. There is absolutely no justification to expose Nigerians to avoidable pains and hardship. The solution is not for people to waste precious productive time to que to collect token for survival but to allow more time for seamless and effective implementation.
Yesterday, Bola Tinubu offered a few suggestions that can immediately ease the pressure on innocent citizens bearing the bulk of the negative consequences of the Naira Swap project.
The CBN should quickly consider these suggestions which include allowing the use of old and new currency notes in the immediate to allow for more time for effective logistics, planning and execution of the policy.
Tinubu urged the Central Bank to consider the following:
- Following the advice of the Council of States, the CBN should announce that the old and new Naira notes (especially the non-withdrawn notes and coins) will co-exist as legal tender for the next 12 months to follow examples of countries that have successfully implemented similar monetary policy.
2.immediate suspension of associated charges on online transactions and bank transfers and payments via POS until the current crisis is fully resolved. This cost should be considered a roll-out expense by the CBN to incentivise the envisaged shift to alternative transaction channels; for both the financial services consuming public and those in charge of implementing the scale-up programme.
- Mobilise all Money Deposit Banks, Payment platforms to show clear commitment and timelines on expanding their infrastructure and support services.
- Bring in Fintech companies with capabilities into currency swap programme for the next 90 days to help decongest banking halls and ATM points where people line up for hours.
- The Central Bank and other relevant MDA’s should form an Inter-Agency Action Committee for immediate oversight over the cash supply gaps from the Nigerian Security and Minting Company and deal with issues around capabilities and turn around time to meet the needs of the informal sector and unbanked people.
- The CBN, National Orientation Agency and Ministry of Information, State and Local Governments with their relevant organs in both the public and private sectors should commence a major public enlightenment and sensitisation campaign to further educate and empower our people on the new naira and cashless policy for better understanding and mainstream adoption.
The CBN has nothing to gain in making life unbearable for the people and slowing down the pace of the economy. It is in Nigeria’s interest for the regulatory Bank to consider these positions and quickly restore normalcy to the economy.
-Oyedeji is an Economist, Investment Banker and a Public Affairs Analyst