Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) says President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) should have introduced the N5,000 notes rather than redesigning the N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations.
NACCIMA director-general Sola Obadimu in an interview in Abuja on Monday, said while the new banknote policy was laudable, there would have been less pressure on the masses if it was done differently.
“If I were the CBN governor, all I would have done was to have introduced N5,000 note,” he said. “That would have helped to mop up the money in circulation without the kickbacks we are getting.”
The director-general said the hardship Nigerians are facing over the new policy would have been nonexistent or reduced to the barest minimum.
The director-general said the whole process would have been more cost-effective “because it is a higher denomination, fewer amounts of bills would have been printed.’’
Mr Obadimu said besides the ongoing swap, the strength of the naira against foreign currencies was a major concern and thag it was disheartening to note that the naira is weak against foreign currencies, particularly the dollar and euro.
“Another thing is that our highest denomination, which is N1, 000 is only worth two dollars at the official rate, and it is not too good for our image. There are €50 and €100 notes, and how much is €100 note in naira?” stated the NACCIMA boss.
He added, “A euro is almost N1,000. So, €100 is about N100,000. That is just a bill, and ours is worth just $2, which is not good for our image.’’
On the move to switch fully to a cashless policy, the director-general said it was a laudable initiative because “that is where the world is heading to. Digital economy is the new world order.”
The NACCIMA boss, however, said he had a reservation with the level of preparedness, particularly about internet infrastructure.
According to him, Nigeria has a long way to go in achieving a cashless economy because the country’s internet infrastructure is weak, and there is a need for Nigeria to develop its internet infrastructure, particularly in the rural areas, for a smooth transition.
CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, had fixed January 31 as the deadline for the expiration of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes. The deadline was extended until February 10.