Economy

Stakeholders Urge Tinubu To Curb New Naira Note Sales For Economic Stability

IBADAN – Some stakeholders have called on President Bola Tinubu to save Nigeria’s economy by eradicating the menace of the sale of new naira notes in the country.

The stakeholders, in separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria on Thursday in Ibadan, blamed the government for not bringing offenders to justice, thus allowing the unwholesome practice to thrive.

An Ibadan-based financial expert, Chief Abiola Ali, said that the Federal Government should be decisive in bringing people who specialise in trading new naira notes in major streets across the country to book.

Ali, a chartered accountant, said that the country’s economy would continue to be crippled if new naira note sellers were not apprehended and adequately punished.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is the only institution legally allowed to issue currency through commercial banks.

“Also, everyone is aware of the law prohibiting the spraying of money anywhere but no one is being apprehended and punished for contravening the law in Nigeria.

“It is so painful that the regulations on the issuance and spraying of money have not been enforced on the hawkers and sprayers of money.

“One of the reasons inflation is so high today is the issue of selling naira notes.

“These economic saboteurs believe that they are into business; their high charges trickle down to the last consumer and circulate through society.

“Their activities, therefore, bring about an increase in prices of goods and services, which we are all seeing today.

“The President Bola Tinubu-led administration should show more interest in developing our economy by checking the activities of some corrupt CBN officials who release new naira notes to those hawking them on the street,” he said.

According to Ali, there must not be any preferential treatment in the punishment to be meted out to anyone caught sabotaging the nation’s economy through whatever means.

The Secretary of the Ibadan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Joseph Adebanjo, argued that certain influential people in society were still engaged in trading new naira notes on the streets in spite of the availability of commercial banks.

Adebanjo stated that the development was partly responsible for money laundering in society.

“Certainly, ordinary businessmen and women cannot be engaging in the menace. I’m quite sure that some government officials are aware of those involved in it.

“How else would you describe a situation where the law enforcement agents, such as the police, are seeing around where those money traders carry out their transactions and nothing is done to them?

“This is exactly what has made the Bureaux de change operators almost more important than the banking sector in Nigeria.

“Another grave consequence is that fake or counterfeit currencies would continue to be in circulation because those people may be engaged in printing money illegally.

“Also, the banking industry may continue to gasp for survival while our economy may not grow as expected,” Adebanjo said.

In his reaction, Mr. Rotimi Oyedepo, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) working with EFCC, admitted that hawking new naira notes on the street was a financial crime.

Oyedepo said that the anti-graft body was doing everything within its capacity to bring those found culpable to justice.

“We have been going after them; we are even prosecuting some of the suspects we have investigated. In fact, some have been convicted,” he said.

An Ibadan-based human rights lawyer, Mr. Richard Olakulehin, urged Nigerians to stop patronising money traders.

Olakulehin, however, stated that it might not be easy to completely eradicate the culture of spraying money at social events, as it was an African culture.

“However, beyond whatever the law may say about it, I want to urge Nigerians to stop buying money from money trading outlets.

“They will surely run out of business if people stop patronising them,” he said.

(NAN)

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