By Kayode Oyero
The presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu has asked the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to allow old and new N200, N500 and N1,000 notes to co-exist as legal tenders for the next 12 months.
The APC flag bearer also asked the apex bank to suspend all charges associated with online transactions and bank transfers till the current crisis is resolved.
This was contained in a statement by Tinubu made available to Channels Television by one of his campaign spokesmen, Festus Keyamo on Sunday.
“For the records, I and my running mate, Senator Kashim Shettima and our campaign council do not have anything against the CBN Naira redesign and cashless policy in principle,” Tinubu said. “We are, however, only concerned about its disruptive implementation and the hardship it has brought on the generality of our people who currently can’t access their hard-earned money to meet obligations and the attendant consequences on the informal sector, where majority operate.”
He posited thus: “To bring immediate relief to our people, we urge the Central Bank to consider the following:
“Following the advice of the Council of States, the CBN should announce that the old and new Naira notes (especially the non-withdrawn notes and coins) will co-exist as legal tender for the next 12 months to follow examples of countries that have successfully implemented similar monetary policy.
“This will immediately remove growing tension in the country, eliminate panic reactions by the populace and allow time to scale up infrastructural gaps around alternative payment options to cash.
“We advise the immediate suspension of associated charges on online transactions and bank transfers and payments via POS until the current crisis is fully resolved.
“This cost should be considered a roll-out expense by the CBN to incentivise the envisaged shift to alternative transaction channels; for both the financial services consuming public and those in charge of implementing the scale-up programme.”
The former Lagos State governor further asked the CBN to mobilise all Money Deposit Banks and payment platforms to show clear commitment and timelines on expanding their infrastructure and support services.
Tinubu had at a rally at the MKO Abiola Stadium in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, on January 25, 2023 alleged that some persons want to use the fuel scarcity in the country and the redesign of three naira notes to sabotage his chances at the February 25, 2023 poll.
“Let fuel be expensive, only they know where they keep it. Keep petrol, keep the naira, we will vote and be elected. You may change the ink of naira notes. What you expect will not happen. We will win,” Tinubu had said in Yoruba language.
Tinubu’s comments had generated reactions from all quarters including his party, the APC and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Following the outcry by many Nigerians, the CBN subsequently extended the deadline for the swap of old N200, N500 and N1,000 from January 31 to February 10 but the Supreme Court held that the Federal Government, the CBN, commercial banks must not continue with the deadline pending the determination of a notice in respect of the issue on February 15.
At least five states have sued the Federal Government over the deadline for three old naira notes.