Tinubu to review Buhari’s Naira redesign policy, says implementation was too harsh

Nigeria President Bola Tinubu on Monday said the Naira redesign policy by his predecessor Muhammadu Buhari will be reviewed.

Tinubu said this in his inauguration address as Nigeria’s 16th president at Eagles Square, Abuja.

The president noted that the Naira redesign policy implemented by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) did not consider the number of unbanked Nigerians.

“Monetary policy needs thorough house cleansing. The Central Bank must work towards a unified exchange rate. This will direct funds away from arbitrage into meaningful investment in the plant, equipment and jobs that power the real economy,” Tinubu said.

“Interest rates need to be reduced to increase investment and consumer purchasing in ways that sustain the economy at a higher level. Whatever merits it had in concept, the currency swap was too harshly applied by the CBN given the number of unbanked Nigerians.

“The policy shall be reviewed. In the meantime, my administration will treat both currencies as legal tender.”

Buhari in February declared that only the old 200 naira note will be legal tender till December 2023, and insisted that old 500, and 1000 notes ceased to be legal tender.

But the Supreme Court in March faulted the naira redesign policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), declaring the naira notes swap implementation invalid and an affront to the 1999 Constitution.

Despite the order, cash scarcity continued in all states and the FCT with commercial activities being grounded.

Amid the cash crunch and the silence of Buhari, many suggested that the CBN governor Godwin Emefiele was acting on the President’s directive not to obey the Supreme Court.

The Presidency later said former President Buhari did not direct the CBN to shun the Supreme Court order on the validity of naira notes.

“Since the President was sworn into office in 2015, he has never directed anybody to defy court orders, in the strong belief that we can’t practise democracy without the rule of law and the commitment of his administration to this principle has not changed.

“Following the ongoing intense debate about the compliance concerning the legality of the old currency notes, the Presidency therefore wishes to state clearly that President Buhari has not done anything knowingly and deliberately to interfere with or obstruct the administration of justice.”

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