This picture taken on January 29, 2016 in Lagos shows 1000 naira banknotes, Nigeria’s currency. Nigeria’s central bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, on January 26 dismissed calls to devalue the naira in his monetary policy committee statement. Instead he chose to continue propping up the currency at 197-199 naira to the dollar and maintain foreign-exchange restrictions. As a result, the naira on the black market is hovering around a record low of 305, fuelling complaints from domestic and foreign businesses who can’t access dollars required for imports. / AFP / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI (Photo credit should read PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/AFP/Getty Images)

No new Naira policy, Old CBN post recirculated

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Claim:

A text message circulating on WhatsApp claims the Central Bank of Nigeria will reintroduce a new Naira policy by November, 2023. 

The viral message also claims that the policy, which will take effect by 2024, was approved by President Bola Tinubu. 

Twentyten Daily received the claim, which has been forwarded many times via WhatsApp, on Monday 11, 2023.

Verdict

The claim is false and misleading. 

Full Text:

A text message has been forwarded many times on WhatsApp with a claim that the CBN is about to introduce a new Naira policy come November. 

The headline of the message reads: 

๐๐ซ๐ž๐š๐ค๐ข๐ง๐  ๐๐ž๐ฐ๐ฌ: ๐‚๐ž๐ง๐ญ๐ซ๐š๐ฅ ๐๐š๐ง๐ค ๐จ๐Ÿ ๐๐ข๐ ๐ž๐ซ๐ข๐š ๐ข๐ฌ ๐š๐›๐จ๐ฎ๐ญ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ข๐ง๐ญ๐ซ๐จ๐๐ฎ๐œ๐ž ๐š ๐ง๐ž๐ฐ ๐๐š๐ข๐ซ๐š ๐ฉ๐จ๐ฅ๐ข๐œ๐ฒ ๐›๐ฒ ๐๐จ๐ฏ๐ž๐ฆ๐›๐ž๐ซ ๐Ÿ๐ŸŽ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ‘ ๐ญ๐ก๐š๐ญ ๐ฐ๐จ๐ฎ๐ฅ๐ ๐ฆ๐š๐ค๐ž $๐Ÿ ๐”๐’๐ƒ ๐ž๐ฑ๐œ๐ก๐š๐ง๐ ๐ž = ๐๐Ÿ.๐Ÿ๐Ÿ“

According to the viral message, the policy is a currency redenomination,  a process where a new unit of money replaces the old unit with a certain ratio.

It noted that after the policy, there will be old and new currency with the below value: 

50 kobo Half kobo**

N 1 = 1 kobo coin

N 2 = 2 kobo coin

N 5 = 5 kobo coin

N 10 = 10 kobo coin

N 20 = 20 kobo coin

N 50 = 50 kobo coin or note***

N 100 = N 1 note

N 200 N 2 note**

N 500 = N 5 note

N 1000 = N 10 note

N 2000* = N 20 note

A blog also published the claim on September 11. 

Background 

Nigerians suffer grave losses for the Naira redesign policy implemented in 2022 by the Central Bank of Nigeria. 

The policy disrupted the countryโ€™s economy which is yet to recover from the negative impacts. 

Recall that the then CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, in October, announced the apex bankโ€™s plan to redesign and circulate a new series of three banknotes out of the existing eight.

The redesigned N200, N500 and N1000 notes were due for circulation on December 15, 2022. Emefiele said the pre-existing notes would remain legal tender until January 31, 2023.

The former President Muhammadu Buhari said no going back on the policy despite experts’ criticism of its implementation. 

Nigerians’ reacted by rioting and the Supreme Court had to intervene by reversing the CBN directive.

The CBN spent N29.65bn on currency issue expenses in 2022, a 94.66 per cent increase from the N15.23bn it spent in 2021, according to the apexโ€™s bank financial statement which shows the aftermath of the gross policy. 

President Bola disregarded the fact that the policy was implemented under the All Progressives Congress-led administration as he publicly condemned it in one of his campaign speeches 

Verification:

Twentyten Daily checks reveal that a lecturer in the Department of Economics, University of Abuja, Dr. Rasheed Alao wrote extensively to make a case for Naira redenomination.

In the article, published by The Nation newspaper on September 5, argued that redenomination outweighs redesigning which Nigeria underwent in recent time.

The author urged President Tinubu to consider the policy as it has the potential to stabilize the falling naira against dollar and euro in the exchange market.

Further findings revealed that the post in circulation was published on the CBN website on August 14, 2007.

The post under the apexโ€™s bank FAQโ€™s (Frequently Asked Questions) reads partly:

“The new โ€˜Strategic Agenda for the Nairaโ€™ announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria on August 14, 2007 is generating a healthy national debate. Before we undertake a nation-wide enlightenment programme, (beginning September 2007) to educate the public on the new policy, it is important to clarify some of the issues/questions that are emerging.

“The CBN announced a 4-point agenda designed to make the Naira the โ€œReference Currency in Africaโ€, as part of the Financial System Strategy 2020 (FSS2020) and the elements of the agenda”. 

Twentyten Daily research reveals that the policy was introduced by the then CBN governor and the current governor of Anambra State, Prof. Charles Soludo.

However, the President at the time, Late Umaru Musa Yarโ€™Adua ordered for the suspension of the policy in 2008, reportedly due to a lack of clear-cut strategies on its implementation.

Conclusion:

The claim in circulation that Tinubu planned to reintroduce a new Naira policy is false and misleading. 

Quadri Yahya

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