DESPITE criticisms by economists and financial experts over the planned introduction of a higher bill of N5000 note to the Nigerian economy next year, the spokesman of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Ugo Okarafor has said the apex bank would go ahead with the plan, stressing that it was aimed at preventing the current dollarization of the Nigerian economy.
Okorafor who provided this new impetus to the on-going debate also maintained that the argument by some people that an introduction of a higher bill could possibly spur inflation defy every logic because no economic theory had proven that a higher currency bill could influence people’s spending habit.
The apex bank Director made these declarations yesterday in Abuja at the commencement of a sensitisation campaign by the CBN with journalists on the planned currency restructure programme.
He confirmed that no consultation was made to major stakeholders on the initiative before obtaining the Presidential blessings, but expressed confidence that a successful buy-in by Nigerians would be recorded before next year flowing from the sensitization exercise.
But he debunked insinuations that the introduction of the new higher bill was counter to the Bank’s cashless programme, clarifying instead that the initiative was complimentary to the cashless programme as it would lead to a reduction of the cost of cash production and management.
His words: “The argument that the N5000 bill should not be introduced because it would spur corruption does not hold here because those that are using our currency for corruption have already migrated to the Dollar because the Naira has lost its value. The Dollar has now become the store of value. That is why we are introducing a higher bill of value because we don’t want to dolarise our economy . We need to be in charge of the money that comes in and goes out. “
If we are not in charge we cannot effectively manage our monetary policy.
He continued: “The fact that we are introducing the N5000 note does not mean we are scraping other currencies. There are still the lower units which everybody can use while the N5000 note will serve a set of individuals like traders and business people who need to move huge cash around. These people need the note and because they are part of society, we have a duty to serve them.
“It is also a logical step towards the successful implementation of the cashless programme because Nigerians will now spend less printing cash. It will generate huge savings to both the CBN and the Nigerian tax payers,” Okarafor said.