Sequel to the decision of the Supreme Court to extend the naira swap exercise to December 31, 2023, experts have hailed the decision as commonsensical. They praised the apex court’s decision, noting that it will reduce the hardship faced by the Nigerian public.
In case you missed it, Nairametrics reported that earlier today, a seven-member panel of Supreme Court Justices unanimously ruled that the old banknotes should remain valid legal tenders until December 31. The court also said the policy was an affront to the 1999 Constitution.
It held that the old Naira notes should be used alongside the redesigned currencies.
The court faulted President Muhammadu Buhari for introducing the demonization policy, without due consultation with the Council of States, the Federal Executive Council, the Civil Society and other relevant stakeholders.
What experts have said: Reacting to the decision, the Chief Executive of Economic Associates, Dr Ayo Teriba, said that the policy was unnecessary and a waste of time. He said before any law there is common sense; he noted that the law is made for man and not man for the law; so the CBN governor got it wrong.
“He just pushed the country into a wild goose chase, and at this time such a thing should never have been done, but it is good that the CBN has met a brick wall in the Supreme Court. It is the only sensible thing to do; they shouldn’t have announced that citizens should surrender their cash and begin to restrict how much they can withdraw. It has never happened in Nigeria, and neither any sensible country in the world; thank God for the supremacy of the rule of law that has stopped the malady,” he said.
Teriba noted that the Nigerian economy is having about 12 billion naira in circulation, of which the highest denomination is just worth $1.50. He said in any other part of the world, a dollar or two should be coins. Therefore, the CBN should not be replacing low-value notes with other sets of low-value notes.
“If I want to change a million naira now, I will get 12 pieces of $100 notes; if I’m going to get a thousand pieces of N1000 notes or 2000 pieces of N500 notes, I need to give out just 12 pieces of $100.”
Decision is wrong but CBN has to obey: Professor Sam Amadi, the Director of the Center for Public Policy & Research and lecturer at Baze University, Abuja, said the Supreme Court’s decision is final, which means the CBN and every other stakeholder have to obey.
He however said he thinks the judgment is wrong. He said while the court may be right to say the CBN did not give enough reason for the policy, the argument that the president should have consulted with state governors, civil society operators and cabinet members is totally wrong because there is no constitutional provision that says the president’s action requires consultation because consultation is not part of any constitutional power.
He said consultation is politics; so if the president is consulting with the council of state, there is nowhere where it says there must be consultation. Section 5 of the Constitution of Nigeria it does not require any consultation, even if the power will hurt the people. He said the states can sue the federal government if it does not exercise its powers constitutionally.
“The Supreme Court is wrong in view, but you have to obey the Supreme Court,” he said.
CPPE commends ruling: On the other hand, the Director of the Center for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Dr Muda Yusuf, issued a statement which said:
“The Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise [CPPE] commends the ruling of the Supreme Court on the use of the old currency naira notes as legal tender. Hopefully, President Buhari, the Central Bank Governor and the Attorney General of the federation would comply with this court order in the interest of the rule of law, good order and public interest.
“We welcome the Supreme Court ruling as it protects the citizens from a policy which is, by all accounts, disruptive, repressive and draconian. It is also punitive, cruel and insensitive. Indeed, Nigerians deserve an apology from the promoters and proponents of the policy, especially the arbitrary and uninformed mopping up of cash in the economy.
“The CBN currency redesign policy inflicted indescribable agony, suffering and distress on a majority of Nigerian citizens. The trouble was not with the redesign, but the deliberate and unrestrained mopping up of cash in the economy. To date the CBN had mopped up about N2 trillion cash from the economy thereby paralyzing the retail sector, crippling the informal economy, stifling the agricultural value chain, immobilizing the transportation sector and disrupting the payment system in the economy.”
Download Nairametrics App for breaking news and market intelligence.