Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says the excuse of security threats pushed by Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano State has no bearing on the ongoing currency swap across the country.
Ganduje had in an interactive session with critical stakeholders, including scholars, legislators, political leaders and business community in the state, revealed that his administration had requested the president to postpone his official visit to the state.
He said the state was deeply concerned about the hardship principally induced by the ongoing cash swap from old to redesigned naira notes. Thus the decision to postpone the visit and avoid any unforeseen circumstance.
But the CBN governor disagreed with the Kano governor saying there is no intersection between the currency swap and security.
“I don’t understand the relationship between the CBN policy and security challenges in Kano State,” Emefiele said.
Emefiele noted that the apex bank had achieved compliance and recorded huge success in the ongoing currency swap across the country.
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He said all new currencies have security features that make them easy for tracking to bank branches, and the process has begun to deal with defaulters and those who breached the programme.
“Even if they are CBN staff, they will be sanctioned,” Emefiele warned.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that president Muhammadu Buhari had earlier on Sunday morning approved extension of the ongoing currency swap by 10 days, moving the deadline from Jan. 31 to Feb. 10.
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Femi Adesina, president Buhari’s spokesman who confirmed this in a statement, said Buhari gave the approval at a meeting with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria in Daura, Katsina State.
He urged more time, discretion and order to enable Nigerians successfully change their currencies to the redesigned notes, and reduce the risk of loss, especially among the underserved in rural areas.
Briefing newsmen after the meeting, the CBN governor said the currency swap had achieved more than 75 per cent success rate of the N2.7 trillion held outside the banking system.
According to him, this achievement can be seen with a drop in rate of inflation, more stability of foreign exchange rates, and noticeable impact on security, especially in banditry and kidnapping figures.
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The CBN governor noted that redesigns were supposed to be every five to eight years.
“First, I will like to thank Mr President for giving the CBN the approval to embark on this ambitious programme because, like I said, in the past, the CBN has not had the opportunity to embark on such currency redesign programme in last 19 years.
”And indeed, let me emphasise that only an incorruptible leader of the President’s stature can give such approval to the CBN,” he said.
“Our aim is mainly to make Monetary Policy Decisions more efficacious and as you can see; we have started to see inflation trending downwards and exchange rates relatively stable.
“Secondly, we aim to support the efforts of our security agencies in combating banditry and ransom taking in Nigeria through this programme and we see that the military are making good progress in this important task,” he added.
Meanwhile, barely 24 hours after advising Buhari against visiting Kano State on Monday, Ganduje has made a u-turn, saying ”Kano is now prepared to receive the Nigerian leader”.
Ganduje, who led a delegation of critical stakeholders from the state to meet the president in his country home in Daura on Sunday, after which he revealed the change of position to newsmen.
”We are very much ready to receive him and we have a lot for him to commission, including Federal Government projects and state government projects,” Ganduje said.