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Journalist criticize CBN on new note shortage

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By Usman Oladimeji

Naira shortages are due to CBN's inability to print enough new notes.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been criticized by journalists for not owning up to the problems that have arisen as a result of the decision to redesign naira notes. It was posited that the shortage of naira notes was due to the CBN’s inability to print enough new notes. Journalists and their guests on the Journalists Hangout show on TVC News supported the House of Representatives’ resolution to reconvene from recess if the current Naira notes scarcity persists.

On the broadcast, one of the journalists praised the House of Representatives move as a patriotic one and encouraged the rest of Nigeria to do the same. It was underlined that the CBN’s independence does not put it in a position above the law in the country. The journalist also noted that it is possible that the allegations that banks are stockpiling the new notes is not accurate. Ayodele Ozugbakun, the show’s anchor, said that President Muhammadu Buhari is being shown an image of business as usual throughout Nigeria, which makes it impossible for him to act before the situation evolves further.

Expert urged CBN to implement appropriate measures.

Another journalist weighed in on the subject, saying that point-of-sale (POS) retailers were taking advantage of the crisis by charging exorbitant fees in return for new banknotes and deposits. The POS vendor, however, reportedly had to put in as much effort as any other bank client to receive the new note. Meanwhile, capital market expert and President of the Capital Markets Academics of Nigeria, Professor Uche Uwaleke, urged CBN to implement appropriate steps to guarantee proper and efficient distribution of the new Naira notes.

Professor Uwaleke claims that the public is in an uproar because of the CBN’s efforts to establish a cashless policy. This is seen in the massive queues formed outside banks and POS merchant shops as people want to get their hands on the new note. This is happening amid the country’s fuel shortage, which has also resulted in massive queues at several filling stations. In light of this, he also urges the CBN to work with the country’s security agencies to identify and punish individuals allegedly hoarding the new notes.

Long-term benefits of the policy cannot be overlooked.

According to the same capital market expert, the CBN should take responsibility and handle the situation to guarantee that all Nigerians get easy access to the new notes as the central bank’s deadline approaches. Prof. Uwaleke believes this action if adopted, would help defuse the stress caused by the country’s widespread cash shortage. Examining the CBN rule on the N20,000 withdrawal limit in detail, he expressed worry that the amount is far low, prompting an appeal to the apex bank to raise the limit.

Furthermore, he urged national political leaders to refrain from making negative comments about the viability of the cashless policy, stressing the need for their support for its effective implementation. Prof. Uwaleke commented on the decision of three Northern States to sue the government over the cashless policy, arguing that this might undermine the effectiveness of the policy. In spite of the fact that the country’s transition to a cashless economy has caused a myriad of issues, the long-term benefits of the policy cannot be overlooked.

The policy will increase nationwide financial services.

Prof. Uwaleke hails the cashless policy as a means to reform the financial system, recovering the huge amounts of money that were previously alleged to have left the country and allowing the CBN to conduct out its monetary policies. Further, it will help increase people’s access to financial services nationwide. Since the policy’s announcement, he claims, electronic payments in Nigeria’s economy have expanded dramatically, with many business owners praising the convenience it has brought to their operations.

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CBN: Website

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