The founder of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE), Muda Yusuf, has revealed that the short deadline to phase out the old Naira notes is affecting trade in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
Speaking at a Twitter space, titled, ‘CBN Deadline For Old Naira Notes – The Real Issues’ organised by Prime Business Africa on Monday, 30, January 2023, the economist said the reason is due to the Naira being the dominant currency in the ECOWAS sub-region.
As a result, the two-month deadline doesn’t only disrupt economic activities within Nigeria, it also disrupts trading in the ECOWAS region which consists of fifteen countries located in West Africa.
“So, the cost to us is enormous to us as a country and even to our people that are undertaking trade within the African sub-region.
“Because most of the trade taking place within the sub-region is (conducted) by the informal sector people, and most of their transactions are also in cash.
“And our currency is the dominant currency in the sub-region, because of the size of our economy. Our GDP is more than 50 per cent of ECOWAS.
“So it’s not only disrupting our domestic economy, it is also disrupting trade in the ECOWAS sub-region. So, the cost is highly disproportionate to whatever benefit that we seek to achieve here,” Dr Yusuf said.
Yusuf, who is the former Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), is one of many Nigerians that have been criticising the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the short deadline to phase out the Naira.
Recall that the CBN had announced that it will redesign the Naira notes in late October 2022, giving two months for the old Naira banknotes to cease being legal tender.
The apex bank initially set 31, January 2023, as the deadline, however, three days to the deadline, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, said he has received approval to extend the deadline by 10 days to 10, February 2023.