By Kadiri Abdulrahman
A financial expert, Mr Okechukwu Unegbu, has commended the Supreme Court for legalising the usage of the old Naira notes along with the new ones.
Unegbu, a past president of the Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), gave the commendation in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday.
He said that the Naira redesign policy had inflicted avoidable pain on Nigerians.
NAN reports that the Supreme Court invalidated the new Naira design policy initiated by the Federal Government on the grounds that it was not done with due consultation and in line with constitutional provisions.
The apex court, thus, ordered that the old Naira notes should continue to be used side by side with the new naira notes until Dec. 31.
The court held that the three months timeline was also not in tune with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Act.
It argued that President Muhammadu Buhari usurped the powers of the CBN when he issued the directive banning the old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes from February 10.
Unegbu, also a lawyer, said that the apex court’s judgement had nullified the actions of the CBN as regards the Naira redesign project.
He urged the CBN to immediately take steps to release the over two trillion Naira of the old currency it had mopped up through the deposit money banks.
“In other words, the currency should revert to what it was before, and every other person, including the President and members of the National Assembly should comply.
“For me, it is a good decision because people have suffered. Many people could not buy foods and medicines.
“The apex bank said it had mopped up over two trillion Naira of the old currency, they should bring out that money through the banking system so that people can get money to move ahead and do their businesses,” he said.
Unegbu advised the CBN to execute the cashless policy in phases to avoid inflcting such pain on Nigerians, especially the rural dwellers.
“There is no problem with the cashless policy but because of the state of the economy and the level of illiteracy, the CBN should have started implementation in phases.
“Cashless policy should start from urban and commercial centres like Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt and Kano before moving to the rural communities.
“You cannot make such a blanket decision in the Nigerian system because of the way we are. The shortage of cash is worse in rural communities, where some people have never even sighted the new notes,” Unegbu said.
He urged the CBN to go back to the drawing board and design a more effective and less cumbersome implementation of cashless policy and financial inclusion initiative.(NAN)(www.nannews.ng)