Touched by the recent Naira Re-design Policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and its aftermath on all spheres of the country, the Centre for Business Law and Policy, University of Lagos on Wednesday, May 31, 2023, held a Roundtable Discourse with a focus on the Legal, Socio-economic and Operational Interrogation.
Resource persons drawn from the field of Sociology, Economics and Law who converged at the Faculty of Law Annex for the discourse condemned the Naira designing policy in its entirety. They, therefore, advocated a review of the recruitment process for the position of the Governor of the Apex Bank, advocated proper planning and sequencing while implementing any public policy and stressed the need for the Central Bank helmsman to be apolitical.
Dr. Augustine Agugua of the Department of Sociology, University of Lagos blazed the trail for the discussion from the sociological point. He accused the CBN of ill-preparedness and described the Naira redesign policy as “lacking effectiveness in its implementation hence the daunting effects on all Nigerians”.
Professor Ndubuisi Nwokoma of the Department of Economics gave an overview of the entire policy, adjudging it inflammatory especially as it also affected the cash withdrawal limits and mounted pressure on the fin-tech structure.
While sharing his perspective from the operational angle, Dr. Olalekan Obademi of the Department of Finance described the Naira re-design policy as characterized with miscommunication, inadequate advocacy, low citizens’ education and high poverty rate among other challenges. He identified the resultant effects as capital flight and loss of man-hours estimated at about fifteen billion naira.
Lead Partner at Esher & Makarios Legal Practitioners, Dr. Oladapo Olanipekun who spoke from the legal angle, described the conceptualization and implementation of the Naira re-design policy as a dent on the policy formulation framework of the Nigerian political system.
A Professor of Macroeconomics at the Durham University Business School, Durham University, United Kingdom, Professor Parantap Basu who participated via Zoom shared the Indian experience when new rupees were introduced.
Prof. Basu spoke glowingly on the inherent benefits of currency re-design and cash restriction particularly in the light of security and digital enhancement.
There were remarks and contributions by participants among whom were Professor Abiola Sanni. He also faulted Mr. Godwin Emefiele’s interest in the presidency and wondered what would happen in the eyes of the Law when the validity of the old notes expires on December 31, 2023.
In her remarks, the Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos, Professor Folasade Ogunsola, OON, who was represented by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Development Services), Professor Ayodele Atsenuwa applauded the gathering, describing it as imperative in the quest to harness informed opinions on national issues.
The Roundtable Discourse, according to the Convener, Professor Adejoke Oyewunmi, is aimed at fostering multidisciplinary research and collaborations as well as promoting knowledge exchange and opinion on contemporary issues. She appreciated all resource persons for their contributions.
It would be recalled that the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, had on Wednesday, 26 October 2022 announced the intention of the Apex Bank to re-design and circulate a new series of three banknotes out of the existing eight namely 200, 500 and 1,000 naira notes. The decision was hinged on the fight against corruption, kidnapping and counterfeiting.
When the new notes were unveiled, Nigerians across different parts of the country struggled to access them from banks and ATM cash points, an ugly trend which lasted until Friday, March 3, 2023, when the Supreme Court extended the validity of the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes till December 31, 2023.