Zainab Ahmed, minister of finance, says the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) did not consult her ministry before the decision to redesign three denominations of the naira.
Godwin Emefiele, the CBN governor, had at a special briefing, announced a plan by the apex bank to redesign, produce, release and circulate new series of banknotes at N200, N500 and N1,000 levels.
According to Emefiele, the decision was necessary to curtail inflation and retrieve about N2.7 trillion out of the N3.3 trillion outside the vault of commercial banks across the country and allegedly held by members of the public.
The move, which would take effect from December 15, 2022, would see the gradual facing out of the old notes till January 31, 2023.
Reacting to CBN’s decision, the finance minister described the idea as laudable but however warned of some consequences.
“We were not consulted. It was an announcement that we heard. Part of the reasons that was advocated is that it is one of the ways to mop up the liquidity to manage inflation,” she said.
“But there are also consequences – we are looking at what the consequences will be. There will be some benefits but there will be some challenges.
“And I don’t know whether the monetary authorities have actually looked very closely at what the consequences and how they will mitigate it,” she added.
Meanwhile, the naira has fallen to a record N780/$ at the parallel market.
The reason, according to some market experts, may not be unconnected with the CBN’s decision to release new currency notes into circulation in the coming days.