HomeNBA NewsCBN Demonetisation: NBA President Visits Finance Minister, Insist on Review of Policy

CBN Demonetisation: NBA President Visits Finance Minister, Insist on Review of Policy

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Still on his quest to find a more conducive way to implement the new CBN demonitization policy to minimize hardship on Nigerians, the President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Mr. Y. C Maikyau SAN paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Dr. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed in Abuja on Friday.

The visit was to relay the concerns of the Nigerian people over the demonetisation policy of the CBN, particularly in view of the scarcity of the new notes and the difficulty Nigerians are encountering in swapping the old notes .

The NBA President informed the Minister that he directed the chairmen of the 128 branches of the NBA to survey and assess the impact of the policy on Nigerians in their respective jurisdictions and the aggregate of report thus far indicated that banking facilities are being overstretched and citizens are uncertain about the policy.

Mr. Maikyau noted that the worse hit are the under-privileged citizens whose life asset may not be up to N10,000 and who do not have access to the new notes and may therefore be denied of their hard earned money in the old naira notes.

The NBA President recalled that the Government ought to avoid the repeat of the harsh experiences of Nigerians in 1984 when a similar demonietisation policy reportedly claimed the life of a trader who committed suicide because he was stranded with about NGN 200,000 of the old notes.

While addressing the Minister, Mr. Maikyau stressed that “President Buhari may have been wrongly advised on the policy because by the provisions of the CBN Act the power of the CBN to call in any of its notes or coins otherwise described as demonetisation, can only become operational upon the directive of the President after giving reasonable notice for the recall.

From the clear wording of the section, these two conditions must coexist before the power to call any of the notes or coins by the CBN can crystallise. The questions that have trailed this policy from our consultations include; “was there a directive of the President? And where there was one, could it be said that the notice, given the prevailing circumstances was reasonable ? The questions seek to interrogate the process leading to the policy and justify the need for extension of the timelines for its implementation.”

Speaking of the condition of reasonable time as provided for in the law, the NBA President added that while the CBN for the first time announced the policy in October 2022, citizens have only been given a mere 45 days to swap naira notes, since the new naira notes only became available from December 15, 2022. Mr. Maikyau noted that when a similar policy was introduced in an advanced economy as United Kingdom’s, the government had announced a date for demonetisation 18 months in advance.

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