“Good management is the art of making problems so interesting and their solutions so constructive that everyone wants to get to work and deal with them” – Paul Hawken
The announcement by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) about its decision to redesign Nigeria’s currency, the Naira, startled the entire polity and precipitated a barrage of criticisms, a wide assortment of comments and opinions across all sectors of the economy. The criticisms were oscillating between decidedly partisan fixation and ignorance of how economic reforms work in the developing world. Some of the critics are not even aware that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele also doubles as the Chief Economic Adviser of President Muhammadu Buhari and a section of the media surprisingly didn’t bother to even run a check on this truism.
One heard and read countless conspiracy theories that were as startling as they were perplexing to the polity on the true intent of the decision, its timing and the activities leading to the final cessation of the legality of the old notes.
The decision to redesign the Naira, which stood as firm and solid as the iconic Zuma Rock of Nigeria’s Federal Capital Territory, cruised through stages of implementation, unstoppably, crushing all threatening obstacles strategically placed on its way, by a section of the political class, who disagree with any policy stemming from the Buhari administration.
The realization of the broad implications of the decision opened the floodgates of criticisms, skepticisms and dispassionate comments and opinions, majority inclining towards severe condemnation due to partisanship.
All these outrages were fired at the CBN and the Presidency for what some myopic critics think amounted to frightening Nigerians with an ‘extremely mischievous, treacherous and ill-timed’ monetary policy.
Politicians, critics and skeptics in their know-all-posture assume the redesignation of bank notes was slammed on the polity to truncate the political process smoothly gliding towards the next round of general elections just months away.
Expectedly, politicians, who had raked over 80 percent of the cash of the commercial banks and warehoused it in several obscure locations, their cronies across other sectors of the economy and the traditional and new media were up in arms, waging a fierce battle against government and the CBN.
Their criticisms and condemnations were so massive that they blighted the sight of the majority of Nigerians to the huge and umpteen advantages of the decision.
One needs not rehash their devastatingly unpalatable media outputs against the decision here. Every Nigerian is a witness to all these.
Nigerians deserve to know the truth about the umpteen advantages of redesigning the Naira at the time it was decided. This knowledge will cure Nigerians of the blindness they have been infected with through the massive disparagement of the decision by fraudulent politicians and their cronies across all sectors of the economy. This is one task that the Corporate Communications Department of the apex bank has been doing long before take-off of the policy.
The redesigned Naira notes indeed possess high therapeutic powers on ailments contracted by the economy in the present unhygienic circumstances of the country.
The new Naira notes are highly efficacious for the cure of counterfeiting and terror financing. These are twin ailments akin to diabetes and hypertension threatening the very existence of the country as one indivisible Nation.
They are a mixture fascinatingly efficacious on cash liquidity ailments. The keeping of over 80 percent of cash outside the commercial banks has been a severe ailment the economy has been sufferring in the class of Malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.
From President Muhammadu Buhari came the affirmation that the new bank notes would help control liquidity in an economy where the higher percentage of cash is held outside the banks.
The new bank notes, according to CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, are a tonic manufactured to boost financial inclusion and economic growth in a country ailed by chronic corruption for decades, with government officials and public office holders regularly being arrested for looting public funds, plunging majority of the citizens deeper into the abyss of hardship and debilitating poverty.
A reflection: Delighteningly, just within a week after the announcement of the decision, huge amounts of cash flowed out of the warehouses and obscure locations into the commercial banks, crashing the US Dollar, which, hitherto rose to over 800 Naira, to 500 Naira, and substantially reducing inflation.
What a marvellous quick-fix!
Within just a couple of weeks, the new bank notes also proved to be a very effective panacea for the severe hardship of majority of Nigerians. To beat the deadline given for the legality of the old notes, those who stashed them in billions in different locations, have had to cart them out for so many ventures, including electioneering campaigns. This way, the cash they had never intended to give Nigerians now indeed go round in billions among the poor citizens.
Indeed, the new bank notes are to cleanse the economy, flush all toxins and other impurities out of it and boost its immune system, especially with regard to such killer-ailments as fraud by public office holders and politicians. The signs of positive gains, I dare say, are already here.
Dambatta, a veteran journalist, writes from Kaduna via [email protected]*