By openly criticizing the proposed Naira redesign and even going further to deny knowledge of it, the Minister of Finance; Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed has proven to the world that Nigeria is in for a serious economic crisis.
How else would one describe a country whose finance minister does not know that her country’s currency is about to be changed? The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and his team are singlehandedly running the economy without recourse to the Finance Ministry. Why are we then surprised that the economy is doing so badly?
Between Fiscal and Monetary Policymakers
This reminds me of my interview with Nigeria’s former Minister of Finance, Anthony Ani early this year. The man had criticized the discrepancies existing between our fiscal and monetary policymakers.
Under normal conditions, monetary policy should complement a country’s fiscal policy to achieve common economic objectives. Unfortunately, in Nigeria, this is not the case as each policymaker works at cross-purposes with one another. Little wonder about the confusion.
Office of Finance Minister and the CBN Governor
Statutorily, the finance minister is the head of the economy but under Buhari, the CBN Governor is the unquestionable lord. This anomaly started under Chukwuma Soludo when he practically took upon himself the roles of fiscal and monetary policy regulator, thereby subsuming the position of the finance minister.
It however got corrected a bit under President Jonathan when Okonjo Iweala took charge of the economy while Sanusi Lamido Sanusi ran the CBN like his personal fief. This would eventually lead to the epic clash of having different and conflicting accounts which forced Jonathan to sack Sanusi from the CBN in 2014.
However, since taking over, Emefiele has been lucky to work with very weak and unassertive finance ministers, except Okonjo Iweala in 2014 – 15. This can be seen in the abysmal way he has performed.
Imagine having the Naira depreciate from 219 to 788 to a dollar under the same central bank chief. This is unpardonable. His policy flip-flops and inability to work in line with the country’s fiscal goals have cost us almost one-third of our GDP. Inflation is at its worst and unemployment is scarily unimaginable. All thanks to Godwin Emefiele!
Naira Redesign, and the Economy
By suddenly stumbling on the idea that a Naira redesign which will be implemented within 6 weeks is the solution to our currency devaluation, Emefiele is out to destroy whatever is remaining of the economy.
Just within two days of announcing the policy, the Naira lost 0.7% value. This has led to the fear that by February when the policy ought to have been fully implemented, the Naira may be exchanged for #1100 to a dollar. This would mean increased poverty for the already traumatized citizens of Nigeria.
Left to me, I would have advised the CBN Governor to jettison this policy now and allow the next administration to choose its monetary options. Even though CBN is independent, it relies heavily on the overall objectives of the reigning administration.
Thus, it will be unwise to create problems for the incoming administration through hastily conceived policies and programs. So long as NIN registration took Nigeria almost two years to achieve, it will also take the country an average of 3 – 6 months to completely mop up the currency in circulation, definitely not 6 weeks!
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Besides, what’s the value of the money in “bad hands” that needs to be mopped up, compared to the damage such hastily implemented Naira redesign will do to our economy? This is the time to think! Emefiele must be stopped!!
CREDIT: Facebook.com / Uzogara Tobechukwu
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