The raging fury over N5000 note in Nigeria
By Emmanuel Udom
The heat is still on. That is, the heat generated over the moves by the Central Bank of Nigeria to mint and circulate N5000 note come next year. Mallam Lamido Sanusi, governor of the Nigerian apex bank, is one fellow that is stubborn and focused.
Though the bureau of statistics in our country says 70% of Nigerians are opposed to the moves, while the remaining 30% are either too timid to speak out, or are simply not knowledgeable in the antics and politics of minting and circulating money.
However, most of the prominent persons, firms, professional bodies, journalists, activists and ordinary Nigerians, who have spoken so far fear, that the word, inflation could become our lot, if the federal government allows Lamido to run away with his pet project, code-name, project cure.
Even,, former president of Nigeria thinks the moves could lead to inflation. But, the CBN governor fired back at him, saying that Obasanjo is not an economist and therefore should be forgiven.
Same goes for the respected Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria, ICAN that feels that the minting and circulation of the N5000 note will result in the devaluation of our currency.
It is expected that Sanusi will receive bashing and recommendation, when he told the world that come 2013, the N5000 note will come into circulation. But, CBN, in an advert placed in some newspapers and magazines in Nigeria said that the country will not spend N40 billion on the proposed currency re-structuring.
Again and again, he has told us pointblank that it could cost far less than N30 billion to mint, circulate and manage the up-coming currency note. Drilling out what seem to be facts and figures as back-ups for his argument, Sanusi said that in 2009, 2010, 2011, Nigeria spent N47billion, N45billion and N32billion respectively to print, mint and circulate notes and coins.
On inflation, CBN insisted that when it introduced the N500 note in 2002, the inflation dropped from 16.5% to 12.1% in 2003. And when the N1000 note was introduced in 2005, it dropped from 11.6% to 8.6% in 2006.
On face value, these arguments, counter arguments and statistics look good. But, time has a way of revealing how our sweet talks tally with our deeds and the realities on ground.
Eighty percent of Nigerians are living well below a dollar a day. Yes, cashless policy will bring about less money in the hands of people, as it is expected that Nigerians and non-Nigerians will use the opportunities offered by the information technology and the internet to carry out all their banking.
The N500 note, despite the on-going raging fury across Nigeria will ensure that people do not carry cash in Ghana-must-go bags and therefore not attract the attention of criminals.
Honestly speaking, with just 200 N5000 notes, you will have with you in your pocket or small bag, N1million and could comfortably pass through Oshiodi, Iyana-Ipaja, Ajegunle or any of our ghettoes and crime prone areas, without those bad boys getting to know.
This is one of the many reasons I am drumming supports for the moves of the CBN, even though 70% Nigerians are oppose to it. Like I said earlier, time is the true revealer of our intentions.