The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has intervened in the brewing crisis in the aviation sector when on Friday, it released the sum of $265 million to airlines operating in the country, to settle outstanding ticket sales.
A breakdown of the figure indicates that the sum of $230 million was released as a special Forex intervention while another sum of $35 million was released through the Retail SMIS auction.
Confirming the release, the Director, Corporate Communications Department at the CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi said the Governor, Godwin Emefiele and his team were concerned about the development and what it portends for the sector and travelers as well as the country in the comity of nations.
Mr. Nwanisobi reiterated that the Bank was not against any company repatriating its funds from the country, adding that what the Bank stood for was an orderly exit for those that might be interested in doing so.
With Friday’s release, it is expected that operators and travelers as well will heave huge sighs of relief, as some airlines had threatened to withdraw their services in the face suffocating business environment.
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”People with illicit money buried under the soil will have a challenge with this but workers, businesses with legitimate incomes will face no difficulties at all.”
The president’s support for the policy has however vindicated the stance of the CBN Governor who had insisted that he needs not to consult the Finance minister, having sought and obtained the approval of the President on the matter.
Mr Emefiele had on Saturday insisted the CBN will carry on with the redesign of some denominations of the Naira notes, saying it followed due process in its decision.
The apex bank made this known via its verified Twitter account, saying that the exercise was 12 years overdue.
The CBN urged Nigerians to support the measure, stressing that it was in the country’s overall interest.
The CBN said the measure was in line with provisions of sections 2 and 19 of the CBN Act.
“The management of the CBN had duly sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari in writing to redesign, produce, release and circulate new series of N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes.
“The CBN urges Nigerians to support the currency redesign project, which is in the overall interest of every citizen of the country.
“The hoarding of significant sums of banknotes outside the vaults of commercial banks should be discouraged by anyone who means well for the country,” it said.
According to the CBN, it had tarried for too long considering it had to wait 20 years to redesign.
“The standard practice globally was for central banks to redesign, produce and circulate new local legal tender every five to eight years,” Emefiele claimed.
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“However as a Nigerian privileged to be at the top of Nigeria’s fiscal management, the policy as rolled out at this time portends serious consequences on the value of Naira to other foreign currencies.
“I will however appeal to this committee to invite the CBN governor for required explanations as regards merits of the planned policy and rightness or otherwise of its implementation now.”
He had told the Finance Minister that barely two days after the announcement of the policy by CBN, the repercussion of it on the value of the Naira to the US dollar was being felt.
“To me, the policy may be a well-conceived one, but the timing going by realities on the ground, is very wrong as the Naira may fall to as low as N1,000 to a US dollar before January 31, 2023, fixed for full implementation of the policy.”
Emefiele said the action was taken in order to take control of the currency in circulation just as he posited that the bulk of the nation’s currency notes were outside bank vaults and that the CBN would not allow the situation to continue.
According to him, the planned policy was in line with Sections 19, Subsections a and b of the CBN Act 2007, upon which the management of the CBN sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to redesign, produce, and circulate new series of banknotes at N200, N500, and N1,000 notes.
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