OLD NAIRA: CBN’s Emefiele insensitive —LCCI ex-DG, Yusuf

The former Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), Muda Yusuf, has said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) led by Godwin Emefiele is inexplicably insensitive due to the chaos caused by the Naira redesign.

According to Yusuf on Monday during a Twitter space conversation, the timeframe given to swap the old Naira notes to the redesigned banknotes was too short and it was disrupting economic activities.

Ripples Nigeria had reported in October 2022 that CBN announced the Naira would be redesigned and stated that the old Naira would cease to be a legal tender by January 31, 2023.

The deadline was faulted by many Nigerians, but Emefiele ignored the criticism, stating that the timeframe would not be extended.

However, on January 29, 2023, the CBN governor said it had received approval to extend the deadline by 10 days, shifting the deadline to February 10, 2023, despite the National Assembly demanding six months to prevent commotion.

Addressing the situation during the Twitter space organised by Prime Business Africa, Yusuf said the CBN was insensitive to the plight of Nigerians for ignoring the National Assembly and the states’ governors’ plea, considering they were representative of Nigerians.

“Between the CBN and the banks, and the mints, they are not supplying the system adequate new notes, and once there’s scarcity, you will see commotion, you see chaos, and you see corruption, just as with fuel.

“Any environment where you create scarcity, these are some of the things that you see. So the CBN is not admitting that we don’t have enough, and we are now making the citizen to suffer this kind of pain,” he told the audience.

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Yusuf, who is also the founder of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE) added, “And to make matters worse, National Assembly has pleaded with the CBN governor that this thing is inflicting pain. National Assembly is the melting pot of any democracy. They are representatives of the people.

“They pleaded with the CBN, the House of Reps, the Senate, the governors even sent a delegation to meet the CBN governor that this thing was going to create chaos, the man insisted that there was no going back.

“Who is he there to serve, is it to serve the people or to serve the President? So the CBN too has demonstrated an inexplicable insensitivity.

“The CBN has not been sensitive to the plight of the people, it now took the President himself to tell him to shift before he shifted, that is not fear on the Nigerian people,”

Meanwhile, the economist said 30 million Nigerians without bank accounts will be affected by the transition, “And I’m going to say that even this 10 days is not enough to clear this mess, because we have 30 million Nigerians that don’t have bank accounts, now for those people, there’s no arrangement because all cash swap has to be through the ATM.

“If you don’t have a bank account, how can you go to the ATM?,” He asked.

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