Unswayed by the widespread criticism of the plan by the apex Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to introduce the 5,000 naira note, the federal government has given the bank the green light to introduce the note.
Minister of Planning Shamsudeen Usman told journalists at the meeting of the President’s Economic Management Team in the capital city of Abuja Tuesday that President Goodluck Jonathan had approved the proposal to print the 5000 naira note.
”The discussion today (Tuesday) was basically to endorse (the introduction of N5000 note). Mr. President had already approved and that is the only requirement by law. The CBN is to propose and Mr. President is to approve,” the Minister said.
Last Thursday, CBN Governor Lamido Sanusi announced a proposed review of the nation’s currency, highlighted by the plan to introduce the 5000 naira (US$31) note and conversion to coins of the 5, 10 and 20 naira notes.
The announcement immediately sparked a groundswell of controversy, with critics charging that the introduction of the 5,000 naira note as the country’s highest denomination will spark inflation.
Hitherto, the 1,000 naira note is the country’s highest denomination.
On Tuesday, about 500 protesters led by a former MP, Mr. Dino Melaye, demonstrated in front of the CBN office in Abuja against the plan to introduce the 5000 naira note.
The private Punch newspaper quoted Melaye as saying the CBN’s action will send a wrong signal to the world that the naira value is so weak that more of it is needed to transact businesses.
”The implication of the 5000 notes on the economy is serious. The policy is unnecessary and will serve no useful purpose. We have more socioeconomic challenges than restructuring currency at the moment,” he said.