16 November 2014, Sweetcrude, Lagos – UMBRELLA body for senior staff association in the country, the Trade Union Congress of Nigeria (TUC) has berated the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the introduction of new 100 naira bank notes in the country, arguing that the time is very wrong.
In a statement by TUC President and Secretary General, Comrade Bobboi Kaigama and Musa Lawal, recalled CBN explained the notes were meant to commemorate Nigeria’s centenary.
According to TUC, the unveiling of the notes by President Goodluck Jonathan, assisted by Vice President Namadi Sambo and CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele, before the commencement of last week Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting on Wednesday was grossly wasteful.
TUC said “Printing of new currency is usually a capital-intensive venture, and raises questions as to how the CBN hopes to grapple with the economic implications of redesigning and printing the new bank notes. Even the timing of the project is inappropriate, coming so late in the year when the economic hustle and bustle associated with Christmas and New Year are nigh. These, together with the insurgency and heightened state of insecurity in parts of the country, the frenzy of political activities and electioneering campaigns towards the forthcoming 2015 elections, and the current slump in global oil prices make this the worst possible time for such drastic fiscal policy.”
“We are also uncomfortable with the clandestine approach adopted by the Federal Government and the CBN on the matter. The apex bank has disclosed that the new notes will be in circulation from 19th of this month (November 2014), implying that the project is already fait accompli.
We are compelled to ask how and why the government chose to take such a critical financial and socio-economic decision without prior broad consultation with Nigerians, especially labour and other key stakeholders. It is evident that the government and the CBN opted to spring this unpleasant surprise package because they already knew that Nigerians would reject the idea ab initio, as was the fate of the botched attempt to introduce five thousand naira notes a few years ago. What then shall we say to these things?”
The statement added “If we may ask, who is afraid of the people, and why? Who stands to gain from this surprise, ambush policy? What is the guarantee that this is not an avenue for certain financial abracadabra ahead of the 2015 elections? And why was the project not appropriated to be part of the centenary programme which has already been successfully completed a few months ago? Why this sudden belated afterthought by the Federal Government? Was the new bank note project captured in the 2014 budget of the CBN? The answer, of course, is “No,” which renders the project totally illegal. Or is the CBN above the law of the land?”