The Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE) has lauded the position of the Supreme Court on the use of old naira notes as legal tender.
Its founder, Dr Muda Yusuf, in an interview on Friday in Lagos, said the ruling was in the interest of the ordinary Nigerian.
The top court on Friday extended the validity of the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes till December 31.
Mr Yusuf expressed hope that President Muhammadu Buhari, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele and the Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, would comply with the court order.
He explained that the judgement would protect the citizens from the disruptive implications of the cash swap policy, apart from being in the interest of the rule of law, good order and public interest.
According to him, while the CBN has the right to redesign currency; it does not have the right to deprive the citizens of their cash.
“The choice of the mode of store of value is a fundamental right of citizens and the CBN has no right to impose that choice on citizens.
“It is a flagrant violation of the rights of citizens for the CBN to withhold the cash of citizens under the guise of currency redesign as the CBN act does not give the CBN that right.
“The act cannot be superior to the constitution of the country and CBN cannot request the citizens to bring their cash for a swap, only to deprive them access to it.
“A swap presupposes that whatever old notes were received by the banks must be replaced with new ones instantly, otherwise, the period of the swap should be extended until the CBN is in position to do so to minimise disruptions,” he said.
Mr Yusuf said that Nigerians deserved an apology from the promoters of the policy, especially the arbitrary and uninformed mopping up of cash in the economy.
He said that the claim by the CBN that the economy had too much cash outside the banking system has no basis in economic theory, nor can it be supported by empirical evidence.
He further said that the contention that the arbitrary mopping up of cash would curb inflation and enhance monetary policy effectiveness equally had no basis, going by available data.
He stressed that the trouble was not with the redesign, but the deliberate and unrestrained mopping up of cash in the economy.
“To date the CBN had mopped up about N2 trillion cash from the economy, thereby paralysing the retail sector, crippling the informal economy, stifling the agricultural value chain, immobilising the transportation sector and disrupting the payment system in the economy.
“Indeed, the bigger threat to monetary policy effectiveness and inflation is the N22 trillion ways and means finances of the CBN.
“The entire exercise was a needless disruption of economic activities, especially among the most vulnerable segments of the economy, unfortunately,” he said.
Segun Ajayi-Kadir, Director-General, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), noted that while the supreme court order must be respected, the independence of the CBN could be in context.
Mr Ajayi-Kadir said the back and forth on the Naira swap exercise was not without implications on the business community, on manufacturing and the ordinary Nigerian.
He emphasised the need for the CBN to outline means of compliance so as not to further confuse Nigerians.
“The CBN manages monetary policy and so the process of reintroduction, particularly in rural areas, should be addressed as the public does not deserve the back and forth this matter has generated.
“I am not sure the judgement has brought any respite, but has rather exposed the disagreement between the executive and the judiciary arms of government.
“There’s the need for the arms of government and the CBN to meet and come to an understanding with the welfare of the economy and the people as primary particularly during this transition of government period,” he said.