A former deputy governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Chief Adebayo Adelabu, has stated that the ongoing naira scarcity in the country has eroded the gains of financial inclusion and cash economy of the last 15 years.
Adelabu, who is also the Accord governorship candidate in Oyo State, stated this while featuring on Fresh 105.9FM programme, ‘South West Political Circuit,’ on Saturday.
He also challenged the Federal Government to provide enough petrol and naira notes for Nigerians in the next two weeks to prove that the scarcities are not targeted at certain individuals, and aimed at scuttling the general elections.
According to Adeleabu, the sudden scarcity of fuel and naira notes reinforced the claims that the government does not want the election to hold or does not want some individuals to win.
The governorship hopeful urged residents of Oyo State to vote for him in the March 11 poll, due to his capacity to do financial re-engineering that will put the state on a better pedestal.
Faulting the claim that the currency redesign policy would prevent politicians from stocking money to buy votes, Adelabu said the total cash that politicians can store for that purpose is not more than two per cent of the cash in circulation, pointing out that it was wrong to change currency only because of that reason.
“The idea of introducing new currency started during my stay at the CBN as DG operations, but a lot of things stopped it. We were looking at the bigger picture – what is really the advantage of changing our currencies? We need to look beyond politicians stashing up cash for elections for vote buying. How much does a politician need to buy votes? How much is the total cash in circulation? They won’t need up to five per cent, and that should not be the only reason for introducing new currency.
“Why introduce it at this time? They could easily have waited till elections are over. You don’t want to target one or two people and you hit millions of other innocent people.
“That is why I said introducing a new currency is supposed to run concurrently with the old currency for minimum of six months. You will issue new currencies and withdraw old currencies. The only thing is that the day you announce a new currency, CBN will never issue out the old currencies again. Any old currency that enters their vault will stay there. You know the amount of money in circulation – the M1, M2, M3, (that is technical, I won’t go into full details of that), cash in bank custody, cash in people’s purses and homes. You know the amount, the moment you are able to withdraw up to 60 to 70 per cent of the old currencies, you can now cut off from there and declare the old currencies as illegal tender. But that does not stop you from accepting it from them as they are bringing it, exchange it for the new ones. There wouldn’t have been this problem of artificial scarcity if it had followed those steps,” he said.
Adelabu outlined his manifesto to include a new blueprint on security, agriculture, infrastructure and education.
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