President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday finally bowed to pressure as he directed the Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, to suspend the planned introduction of N5,000 note.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media, Dr. Reuben Abati, disclosed the development to State House correspondents in Abuja.
Abati told journalists that Jonathan’s latest disposition to the issue was based on the need for more “enlightenment and consultation”.
He said, “The introduction of the new note is being suspended for now to enable the CBN do more enlightenment on the issue.Yes, President Jonathan has directed that the implementation of the new N5,000 note be suspended for now.
“This is to enable the apex bank to do more in terms of enabling Nigerians understand why it proposed it in the first place. So, for now, the full implementation is on hold.”
The CBN, in a statement on Thursday, also confirmed that it had received a presidential directive to stop action on the currency restructuring plan.
The statement by the apex bank’s spokesperson, Ugo Okoroafor, reads, “The CBN hereby informs the general public that the President, on Thursday, September 20, 2012, directed that further action on the approved restructuring exercise be stopped.
“It is important to stress that till date, no contract whatsoever has been awarded by the CBN in connection with the printing and minting of the new currency notes and coins. Consequently, no currency note or coin has been printed or minted under the proposed exercise.”
The planned introduction of the note had attracted a huge outcry in the public domain. Those against the move had hinged their position on the fact that it could worsen inflation in the country.
They also said it was contrary to the apex bank’s cash-less policy.
At resumption on Tuesday, both arms of the National Assembly passed resolutions asking the CBN not to go ahead with the plan. But the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku, said that the resolutions are advisory.
Jonathan was said to have expressed his readiness to halt the process when he met with the President of the Senate, Mr. David Mark, and Speaker, House of Representatives, Mr. Aminu Tambuwwal, on Tuesday.
Watchers say that the suspension might be government’s way of cancelling the project without much fuss.
The controversial restructuring of the naira was to be headlined by the introduction of the N5,000 note and the conversion of lower denominations into coins.
Mixed reactions had followed the announcement. Some renowned economists faulted the move, saying the action was uncalled for.