Minister of Finance, Zainab Ahmed, has slammed the Central Bank of Nigeria for not consulting her before introducing the new monetary policy to redesign the 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes, saying lawmakers should summon Governor Godwin Emefiele to explain his role in the controversial move.
“Distinguished Senators, we were not consulted at the Ministry of Finance by the CBN on the planned Naira redesigning and cannot comment on it as regards merits or otherwise,” Ms Ahmed said during a budget defence session at the National Assembly on Friday. “However, as a privileged Nigerian at the top of Nigeria’s fiscal management, the policy, as rolled out at this time, portends serious consequences on the value of Naira to other foreign currencies.”
“I will, however, appeal to this Committee to invite the CBN governor for required explanations as regards merits of the planned policy and rightness or otherwise of its implementation now,” she added.
Bamidele Opeyemi (APC-Ekiti) had decried the spontaneous increase in the price of dollar to naira at the parallel market since the policy was announced by the CBN.
He expressed concern about the likely consequences of the policy on the nation’s economy, given the astronomical increase in forex.
Also, Senator Solomon Adeola (APC-Lagos), said with the announcement of the policy, the dollar had started going up.
He said the consequences of the policy were that the price of dollar to the naira was rising, adding that it might rise to N1,000 before December, when the policy would take off.
The minister said she learned of the new policy like other Nigerians and that her ministry, as a fiscal authority, didn’t take part in formulating and announcing the policy.
However, she said, “But there are consequences that we are also looking at, what will the consequences be, there will be some benefits, but there will be some challenges.
“And I don’t know whether the monetary authorities have actually looked very closely as to where the consequences are and how they can be mitigated.
“So I still advise that you have that discussion with the monetary authorities,” she added.
She said it was her opinion, as a Nigerian, not as a fiscal authority, reiterating that as the finance ministry and fiscal authority, they were unaware of the policy.
On the debt profile of the nation, Ms Ahmed said the size of the nation’s debt profile, which stood at 23 per cent against the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), was a healthy debt.
She revealed that the debt services were sustainable, adding that what the nation needed was to increase its revenue generation profile.
She said the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) collections stood at 83 per cent performance of the 2022 budget as of August.
She said with the activation of the excise duties on carbonated drinks and the eventual commencement of the use of heavy-duty scanners by customs at the ports, the revenue profile would increase towards the end of the year