A survey by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has revealed that 75.1 per cent of Nigerians are opposed to the currency restructuring by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which will lead to the introduction of the N5’000 note and the conversion of lesser bills to coins.
According to the poll conducted by the NBS, only 16.1 per cent of the Nigerian populace are in strong support of the CBN policy while 4.04 and 4.62 per cent were partially in support and against the currency restructuring policy respectively.
The proposal to introduce the larger bill and convert the N20, N10 and N5 bills into coins has generated a lot of controversy with many groups issuing statements against the CBN initiative.
However, the CBN says it will introduce the new note and coins come 2013 despite the opposition the policy is receiving. The unyielding stand of the CBN may not be unconnected to the full support given to the policy by both the federal and state governments. The policy has also received the approval and backing of the presidency.
Nigeria’s Economic Management Team also believes that the move will help drive the country’s economy and discourage the high demand for the US dollar, saying the N5,000 bill will only be for banks and a few “heavy cash users”.
But many are of the view that the new policy will engender corruption, fuel inflation and negate the “cashless” policy of the CBN, which was designed to promote the use of non-cash transaction instruments.
FBN Capital Limited, in its bulletin just released, had noted that “some opposition can be attributed to a generalised lack of trust in any official measure with economic or financial implications”.
On the cost of managing cash, FBN Capital said, “We note the high, but falling, cost of currency management. Over N125 billion was spent in the past three years printing and minting currency. If this move goes through, we expect to see significant savings made, as the new currency note becomes easier to carry and manage.
“We are also of the view that there is no proven evidence of a correlation between inflation and higher currency denominations. Inflation as we know it is fuelled by too much money chasing fewer goods.