- Organised labour lauds Emefiele
Nume Ekeghe and Solomon Elusoji
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said banks now have between June 3 and September 2, to collect and sort all mutilated notes in their possession for reissuing.
The central bank’s Director of Corporate Communications, Mr Isaac Okorafor, made the disclosure while engaging with leaders of organised labour in Lagos at the weekend.
“The CBN has given banks between the 3rd of June and September 2, to bring back all the mutilated notes for us to reissue them,” he said.
“And we are telling customers, including labour, that they should return all the notes to their bank. And that the banks will bring those notes to us for reissue.
“If any bank is refusing to take back the notes, they should call us and we will take action.”
In April, the bank had introduced a Clean Note Policy to put an end to the circulation of mutilated naira notes.
Meanwhile, at the engagement activity, which was part of CBN’s communication efforts to dialogue with key stakeholders in the economy, an Executive Member of the Nigeria Labour Congress, Issa Aremu, described CBN’s “creative intervention” in the Nigerian economy as “highly commendable.”
“CBN is working today because we have a competent hand,” he said. “Mr Emefiele is a man of vision, but he is also passionate about Nigeria, he is patriotic; we need to replicate that kind of public officer.
“Also, in terms of engagement, I haven’t seen the CBN engaging in any sort of controversy; he doesn’t go outside his mandate. What happens is robust engagement, such that both the executive and legislature agreed that he should go for another term. And the facts are all verifiable.
“They all talk about jobs that have been created; so you need similar kinds of personnel in the next cabinet of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
But Aremu noted that for the Nigerian economy to improve on its current growth levels, all hands must be on the deck.
“CBN is doing its own side of the bargain, but the other fiscal authorities must also complement the effort of the CBN,” he said.
For example, “CBN can’t do much to stop smuggling; so you have improvement in rice production, but by the time the farmers reach the market, it has been overwhelmed by smuggled rice.
“The same thing with textiles. So Customs must also sit up. Energy is also important. We need uninterrupted power supply. So we need the same activism that we are witnessing at the apex bank, at Customs, at the Ministry of Power. The Ministry of Trade and investment must sit up also; Ministry of Labour must sit up as well, because they are the ones to find out whether the funds are made available to investors in this sector are actually used for production and employment is being created.”
He added that “organised labour is committed to partnering with CBN to make sure that all these creative initiatives, in terms of development financing, are sustainable.”
The CBN Governor recently said the policies of the apex bank in the past five years had been focused on protecting the purchasing power of the poor and vulnerable persons in the country. According to Emefiele, the apex bank is very comfortable staying on the side of the weak, vulnerable, and poor masses and protecting their purchasing power.
He had argued the central bank’s development finance initiatives and foreign exchange intervention were targeted at supporting vulnerable persons in the society.
“The poor masses are the ones that bear the brunt of losing purchasing power of the meagre salaries they receive, ever so infrequently.
“Indeed, given the current resistance to pay increased minimum wage of N30,000, one wonders how the fixed income earner would survive the consequences of inflationary pressure arising from the pass-through from exchange rate depreciation being proposed by the naysayers,” he had said.
Emefiele said the task of building a stronger economy was far from complete; with the pace of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth still very fragile and badly lagging behind population growth rate of 2.7 per cent. He reiterated the fact that the level of credit to the private sector by financial institutions was still very low.
According to the CBN Governor, domestic industries particularly high employment generating sectors like textile and garment sectors have continued to deal with rampant smuggling and dumping of materials through our borders.
“These challenges no doubt call for action by the monetary and fiscal policies through the implementation of policies; the spirit and letter of which must be respected by all,” he added.