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CNPP, CSOs Say Naira Redesign, Cashless Policy Buhari's Anti-corruption Legacy
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CNPP, CSOs Say Naira Redesign, Cashless Policy Buhari’s Anti-corruption Legacy

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… Urge National Assembly To Cooperate with CBN On Cash-less Policy

Conference Of Nigeria Political Parties (CNPP) and civil society organisations (CSOs) under the aegis of Coalition Of National Civil Society Organisations (CNCSOs) have commended President Muhammadu Buhari for standing with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) management and for endorsing the ongoing transition from cash-based economy to a cash-less Nigerian society, saying that a full cashless economy will be the best anti-corruption legacy of President Buhari administration.

They urged the House of Representatives and the Senate should cooperate with the Central Bank of Nigeria to make cashless economy possible in Nigeria, warning that they shall not fail to mobilise Nigerians to resist the current plot to use the lawmakers to abort the CBN policy.

The National Convener of the coalition and Secretary General of the CNPP, Chief Willy Ezugwu, made the commendation while briefing the media at a press conference in Abuja alongside the National Secretary of the CNCSOs, Alhaji Ali Abacha.

According to them, “A good observer can easily identify three categories of people who are critical of the cash withdrawal limitsintroduced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“They are those who aretotally ignorant of what the policy is about, those who misunderstood the policy and thought that cash withdrawal limit is the same as digital transaction limits, and those who, for political advantage, distort information about the policy in order to score cheap political points to further their corrupt and anti-people agenda.

“Among the third category of people are mostly politicians who have concealed huge sums of money in their bedrooms and farms for election rigging and for vote buying.Urge National Assembly To Cooperate with CBN On Cash-less Policy

“They are the same category of critics who complain about the timing, forgetting that the full implementation of cash-less policy in Nigeria should have taken place in 2014.

“If the Senate and the House of Reps were carrying out proper oversight functions on the CBN, they would have queried the management of the Central Bank of Nigeria for delaying the original 2014 proposed implementation date that world have placed Nigeria among the twenty best economies in the world, not to query a CBN Governor who is working to rescue Nigeria from unpatriotic citizens who stockpile money outside the banking system. Nigerian lawmakers should have been commending the CBN Governor and his management team rather than vilifying them.

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“One of the major problem of Nigeria is lack of policy implementation. Should the country not be standing with a leader who is implementing well-thought-out policy of government, which the CBN began phased implementation since 2012?”, they said.

Speaking on 2023 General Elections and sociopolitical gains of the cash withdrawal policy and redesigned naira notes, they said, “On several occasions, the CBN Governor. Mr. Godwin Emefiele has assured that the naira redesign and the cash withdrawal limits were not targeted at any individual but the reactions from some politicians who had plans to deploy stolen wealth for elections cry foul.

“We see them as enemies of the people in the forthcoming 2023 general elections. Any individual who plots to induce voters in any way, especially through vote buying, should be considered as prime enemies of democracy in Nigeria.

“As stated earlier, they have argued that N20, 000 daily withdrawal limit will subject ordinary citizens to economic hardship. How many Nigerians make over N100, 000 withdrawals weekly? This is N400, 000 a month. So, how many civil servants legitimately withdraw N400, 000 a month, not to mention individuals in obscure villages?

“Recall that in October 2021, the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC) revealed that 99.4 percent of bank accounts contain less than N500,000 Maximum Insured Limit (MIL) of the NDIC.

“The implication of this is that only about 0.6 percent of account holders in our banks has above N500,000 balance in their bank accounts.

“Secondly, this proves that the ordinary citizens will not be adversely affected by the new CBN withdrawal limits.

“Among these few Nigerian bankers with over N500, 000 in their bank accounts are disappointed vote buyers, illicit drug dealers, kidnappers, corrupt politicians and others with questionable sources of wealth who would not opt for readily transparent or traceable digital payments options.

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“From the foregoing, we establish that only individuals and organisation without legitimate sources of income will be adversely affected by the cash withdrawal policy of the CBN.

“On those who are genuinely pointing to payment infrastructure challenges, we share your concerns as there is no perfect system anywhere in the world.

“We recall that when the GSM was launched in Nigeria, by 2001/2002, we were confronted with a telecom infrastructure that was adversely challenged that we were told that per second billing was impossible in Nigeria to the extent that we paid N50 foe one second drop call due to bad network.

“But overtime, the network has gotten better even though not yet perfect. Are we all not on per second billing today?

“The 99.4 percent of Nigerians who are people with less than N500, 000 in their bank accounts are our major concern and certainly, whatever challenges we all face, as we embrace the cash-less policy regime for an improved economy, the banking authorities will provide solutions over time.

“We cannot throw away the baby with the bathwater. We didn’t do that when GSM was introduced because the politicians needed telecommunication to make their lives easier.

“We therefore call on all Nigerians to sacrifice for a better economy as the benefits of a cash-less economy outweighs the genuine challenges.

“Such gains of cash-less policy like increased convenience, more service options, reduced risks of cash-related crimes like robbery, cheaper access to banking services and access to credit as banks will have enough funds in their vaults to support small and medium scale businesses to boost the economy should be our focus.

“No Nigerian should support the current cash economy where corrupt politicians steal without trace and stockpile our commonwealth in their rooms or bury stolen money in their farms.

“For Corporate entities, a cash-less economy will lead to faster access to capital, reduced revenue leakage, and reduced cashhandling costs, among other benefits. But for the government, it will lead to increased tax collections, greater financial inclusion, and increased economicdevelopment for better infrastructure and reduce Nigeria’s borrowing. It is a win, win policy for all.

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“In war against corruption, like in top economies in the world, a cash-less economy is part of efforts to reduce corruption, fight illicit wealth, as well as other financial crimes common among political office holders and the civil servants.

“Today, oil-theft has become the greatest threat to the economy with the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC Limited) remitting zero revenues to the federal government and conniving with oil-thieves to illegally sell Nigeria’s crude as being alleged by both the Nigerian Navy insiders and highly placed Nigerians.

“The NNPC Limited has continued to cover the tracks of oil-thieves and a cash-less policy will reduce the menace drastically.

“We therefore call on all anti-graft agencies and other security agencies to monitor Bureau De Change operators and place all politicians, political office holders, and top civil servants on perpetual surveillance to ensure that Nigerians reap the gains of a cash-less economy soonest.

“We hereby warn members of the National Assembly not to allow themselves to be used by corrupt politicians and their sympathizers in their midst to truncate the progressive cash-less journey in Nigerian economy. It is an economic crime to do so.

“Therefore, any attempt by the lawmakers to stop the evolution of Nigeria’s cash-less economy and the country’s journey into the top 20 economies in the world will be resisted by the ordinary citizens who have continued to suffer while political leaders continue to feed fat from the poor.

“The House of Representatives and the Senate should cooperate with the Central Bank of Nigeria to make cash-less economy possible in Nigeria as we shall not fail to mobilise Nigerians to resist the current plot to use them against the ordinary people.

“We commend President Muhammadu Buhari for standing with the CBN management and for endorsing the ongoing transition from cash-based economy to a cash-less Nigerian society.

“A full cash-less economy will be the best anti-corruption legacy of the President Buhari administration and Nigerians will be mobilised to vehemently resist plots to abort it in coming days”, they said.

Comrade James Ezema is a veteran journalist and media consultant. He is a political strategist. He can be reached on +2348035823617 via call or WhatsApp.

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