The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, on Friday night defended the decision of the Bank to redesign some Naira notes, insisting that he doesn’t need to consult with the Minister of Finance to do so.
This signals an escalation in the war of words between the CBN and the Finance Ministry over the decision of the apex bank to redesign some Naira notes.
Emefiele on Wednesday shocked many Nigerians when he announced that the apex bank would redesign the N200, N500 and N1,000 following the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said that the action was taken to take control of the currency in circulation, pointing out that the bulk of the nation’s currency notes were outside banking operations.
The planned policy he added, was in line with Sections 19, subsections A and B of the CBN Act 2007, upon which the management of the CBN sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to redesign, produce, and circulate new series of banknotes at N200, N500, and N1,000 notes.
But on Friday, as earlier reported, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, said she knew nothing about the decision of the CBN to redesign some Naira notes.
The Minister spoke barely 48 hours after Emefiele announced that the redesigned notes would become official legal tenders by December 15, 2022.
The Minister, who commented on the policy in response to a question by Senator Opeyemi Bamidele (APC – Ekiti Central) during 2023 budget defence session with the Senate Committee on Finance, warned the CBN of consequences that may arise from it.
But countering the minister, Emefiele in a terse statement this evening, said the CBN does not need to consult anyone to redesign the Naira.
Quoting relevant sections of the CBN Act to back up his claim, Emefiele said he got the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to redesign, produce and circulate Naira notes, stating that the step he took was the position of the law.
“With the president’s approval in writing, the CBN does not need to consult anyone else,” Emefiele pointedly told the Finance Minister.