Senator representing Borno South and Chairman Senate Committee on Army, Mohammed Ndume, has stated that the Naira redesign and cashless policy in the country is having a negative impact on the operation of troops on the frontline.
The senator, who said this on Saturday, while addressing newsmen, explained that soldiers’ daily stipends are easily accessible from the Points of Sales and ATMs to enable them to make provision for their daily needs to sustain their fighting spirit because the terrains of their operations are inaccessible for their daily rations to be delivered to them.
Ndume, who countered the claim of the new Naira redesign aiding the fight against terror financing, explained that terrorists have said that they are already in possession of the new notes.
While appealing to the CBN and the Federal Government to make arrangements for the troops to access their cash easily in view of the critical nature of their duties, he said, ”Naira redesign and the CBN’s cashless policy are gravely affecting the troops’ strategic operations at all front lines of insecurity in the country.
”It’s difficult for the troops to survive at the front lines due to the fact that they lack money to buy their daily needs at the remote areas across terrains of insecurity in Nigeria where they cannot access cash due to the challenges posed by the cashless currency policy.
The lawmaker representing Borno South District, Senator Ali Ndume, has spoken out in light of the economic implications of the January 31st, 2023 ultimatum on the old N200, N500, and N1,000 by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The CBN policy was announced in October when it made public its plans to redesign (Watch Video Here) the aforementioned naira bills.
This was followed up with the introduction of weekly limits for over-the-counter (OTC) cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate entities to N100,000 and N500,000, respectively. The ensuing outcry prompted to a review of the limits to N500,000 and N5 million for individuals and corporate entities, respectively.
The Senator, who made a live appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday, reiterated the position of the World Bank that vulnerable Nigerians, including low- and middle-income earners, would be victims of the policy owing to the arguably short three-month notice. (Watch Video Here)
“For me, the way they are [going about] it is the problem,” he said. “And as I said, my own motion is simple – and it was Nigerians’ motion, it was not my motion. For me, this change of money, withdrawal, and all that does not bother me.
“But it bothers the people that I represent and Nigerians in general. Nigerians will suffer. We had this experience in 1984 and I was lecturing at the polytechnic then. It’s not even the CBN that matters. He (Emefiele) is an appointee of the president. The CBN (governor) is actually a glorified cashier of the government: ‘Pay!’ He pays. ‘Do this.’ He does it. (Watch Video Here)
“But the truth of the matter is that the president must be made to understand that majority of Nigerians that are poor or middle-income will be the victims, especially in the North where we don’t have banks and our people move from market to market with raw cash with no banks.”
The Senator gave further insight into imminent hardship resulting from the policy which he said would impact several disadvantaged Nigerians, particularly in rural communities.
“We have 27 local governments. You can only find banks in five or six LGAs. The rest of the 20 to 21 have no banks at all right now,” he said. (Watch Video Here)
“Those banks that were operating there before were closed down or even destroyed by the insurgents. And some of the areas don’t have any network, so it’s not easy to even do transactions with PoS (point-of-sales terminals).
“Besides that, I only saw the new notes myself as a Senator on Wednesday, when I raised the motion and I told my colleagues that I had not even seen the new notes. The policy is good. From time to time, you need to do that. But when you do it, you don’t do it to hurt anybody or target anybody.” (Watch Video Here)
Asked if he agreed with a popular school of thought that the policy targets politicians who may be planning to indulge in vote-buying, the senator said, “I don’t know about that.”
The Senate, on Wednesday, urged the CBN to extend the deadline to June 30th, 2023, following a motion by Ndume.
In the event that the (Watch Video Here) CBN ignores the recommendation and moves ahead with its original deadline, the Senator did not reveal his plans, saying, “When we get to that bridge, we’ll cross it.”
The Senate has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend its deadline for the phasing out of the old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes from January 31st to June 31st, 2023.
The recommendation follows a motion by the senator representing representing Borno South, Ali Ndume raising the alarm over the January 31st deadline. (Watch Video Here)
According to him, the notice given by the CBN is too short, considering the “few” banks in Borno and Yobe states and the “inability” of people in these states to lodge the old notes in time to meet the deadline.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele on October 26, 2022 announced the redesign of the three bank notes, saying the new and existing currencies will remain legal tender and circulate together until January 31, 2023. (Watch Video Here)
The apex bank believes the redesigned notes will limit cash in circulation and therefore restrict the deplorable activities of ransom-demanding kidnappers as well as politicians set on rigging the upcoming elections.
President Muhammadu Buhari, in November, unveiled the redesigned naira notes as proposed by the CBN, marking the first time in 19 years since Nigeria’s last currency redesign.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele maintained that there would be heavy restriction on the volume of cash that people can withdraw over the counter, as it works with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to monitor the purpose of any heavy transactions. (Watch Video Here)
The redesigned currency note he asserts can never be counterfeited, adding that to forestall such occurrence, the CBN will redesign the notes after every five to eight years.
Economic Concerns Last week, the World Bank expressed concern over the economic impact of the recent naira redesign on Nigerian households and businesses.
“At present, households and firms already face elevated financial pressures from prolonged, high inflation, recently compounded by external food and fuel price shocks, and the severe floods, and phasing (Watch Video Here) out existing naira notes over a short time period may add to their challenges,” it stated.
The global financial institution stated that the timing and short transition period of the Nigerian naira redesign may weigh on economic activity.