Nigeria’s Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, has distanced herself and her ministry from the planned naira redesign policy being championed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The finance minister on Friday told the Senate Committee on Finance that the CBN did not consult her ministry on the planned naira redesigning and therefore, she cannot comment on it as regards its merits or otherwise.
This comes two days after the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, announced plans to redesign the naira, particularly the N200, N500 and N1,000 notes beginning from December 15, this year.
But AIT reports that responding to a question raised by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC Ekiti Central) during the 2023 budget defence session, Ahmed, after denying being part of the policy, warned the CBN against some underlying consequences of its planned action.
According to the report, Senator Bamidele had in his question told the finance minister that the multiplier effects of the policy on the value of naira to US dollar were already being felt barely two days after the announcement of the policy by the apex bank.
It was observed that two days after the announcement of the policy, the value of the naira to a US dollar rose from N740 to N788 due to a rush in exchange of stacked naira notes for foreign currencies, particularly dollars.
In her response, the finance minister was quoted as saying, “To me, the policy may be a well-conceived one, but the timing going by realities on ground, is very wrong as the naira may fall to as low as N1,000 to a US dollar before January 31, 2023, fixed for full implementation of the policy.
“Distinguished Senators, we were not consulted at the Ministry of Finance by CBN on the planned naira redesigning and cannot comment on it as regards merits or otherwise.
“However, 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 naira to other foreign currencies.
“I will however appeal to this committee to invite the CBN governor for required explanations as regards merits of the planned policy and rightness or otherwise of its implementation now.”