The Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association has condemned the CBN’s poorly implemented new naira banknotes policy sanctioned by President Muhammadu Buhari, declaring it is ruining lives and livelihoods.
NECA urged the Buhari regime to look beyond the politics of the naira redesign and focus on the damaging effects on businesses and the economy at large.
Its director-general, Adewale-Smatt Oyerinde, made the call in a statement on Sunday in Lagos.
‘’In the last few weeks, with the cash squeeze and the purchasing ability of Nigerians greatly impaired by the poor implementation of the policy, the economy has witnessed a significant bashing. This is so, with report stating that the Real sector witnessed about 40 per cent drop in productive activities,” explained Mr Oyerinde.
He added, “As the cash crush continues, thousands of productive hours are lost daily on queues by employees and many cannot even get to work. The value chain in the formal and informal sector with over N10 billion cash transaction daily is almost destroyed with consequences for employment, business sustainability and National development.”
The NECA director-general called for critical and immediate efforts to be made to improve or upgrade alternative routes to cash, thereby ensuring seamless transactions before going digital.
According to him, the series of actions taken by the CBN now in the form of having naira swap agents, among others, are afterthoughts, after resistance by Nigerians.
‘’It is callous to deprive citizens of the new naira notes after cajoling them to deposit the old ones in the banks. We urge the CBN to sanction the commercial banks that have been found to be complicit in the whole show of shame, even as the CBN cannot extricate itself from being complicit,” stressed the NECA chief.
‘Mr Oyerinde further mentioned that “as an immediate action, we align with the position of the Council of State that the CBN should release more new naira notes into the economy or allow the use of the old ones, pending a time when it will demonstrate competence by not always putting the cart before the horse in the implementation of monetary policies.”
The NECA boss pointed out that the CBN naira redesign policy with the objectives as stated by the apex bank was laudable.
He said, however, that like many of the bank’s policy initiatives, this was also flawed by shortsightedness in implementation.
‘’For a definitive monetary policy as the naira design, it is expected that the CBN will not only take lessons from other countries like India, Myanmar, Australia, Venezuela, Zimbabwe and the European Union, which witnessed various degrees of successes and failures when they implanted their currency redesign,” said the NECA director-general, urging CBN to do a “thorough analysis and simulation of likely social and economic challenges that might arise and definitive response to those challenges.”
He further stated that “it does not seem that the CBN understands the challenges, nor have solutions to the economic issues, thereby allowing speculators and economic saboteurs to have a field day at the expense of legitimate businesses and the economy.”