HUMAN rights lawyer, Femi Falana, has faulted the recent endorsement of the naira redesign by President Muhammadu Buhari, saying it does not translate to legitimising of the policy.
Falana made his stance known in a statement issued on Sunday, December 4.
Citing concerns of unregulated circulation of over 80 per cent of illicit fund, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had on October 26 said it will redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes in order to take control of the currency in circulation.
Though the Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, said she wasn’t consulted by the apex bank on the initiative, Buhari backed the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, saying he was fully in support of the policy.
But Falana, in the statement, said the President is expected to present a money bill to the National Assembly for approval.
“The official endorsement is not sufficient as the President is mandatorily required to present a Money Bill to the National Assembly for the withdrawal of the billions of naira from the public fund earmarked for the printing of the new naira notes,” the statement read.
“Specifically, Section 59 of the Constitution requires “an appropriation bill or supplementary bill including any other bill for the payment, issue or withdrawal from the Consolidated Revenue Fund or any other public fund of the Federation of any money charged thereon or any alteration in the amount of such payment, issue or withdrawal…”
Besides Falana’s observation on the legitimacy of the process, there has been concerns about the timing of the government policy, with the Abuja Chamber of Commerce seeking for the extension of the deadline.
“As a Chamber, we recognise the advantages of this policy to include improvement in the integrity of the currency, curbing inflation, the efficiency of supply, and strengthening the strategy to conduct monetary policy, among others.
“However, we are not unaware of the cons of this policy on the national economy, specifically to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs),” the Chamber said in a statement.
Also, Muda Yusuf, a former Director-General of Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told The ICIR that the policy would cause some economic dislocation, following the January 31 deadline given by the apex bank.
“We don’t have banks in most of our rural areas, we expect the government to find a way to reach the rural people before the deadline Issuance of 31st January,” he said.
Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.