Press spotlights warning of negative effects of new banknotes on Nigeria’s economic activity, others

The warning by the World Bank of the negative effect on economic activity by the newly redesigned naira which went…

The warning by the World Bank of the negative effect on economic activity by the newly redesigned naira which went into circulation last week, especially on poor Nigerians due to its timing and short transition period is one of the tending stories in Nigerian newspapers on Tuesday.The Punch reports that the World Bank has warned the newly redesigned naira which went into circulation last week may have negative effect on economic activity especially poor Nigerians due to its timing and short transition period.

The Washington-based bank revealed this in a new report titled, “Nigeria Development Update.”

This came amid the mixed reactions that have been trailing the newly redesigned notes.

The Central Bank of Nigeria had last month unveiled new N,1000, N500 and N200 notes as part of measures to mop up excess cash in circulation, ransom payment for kidnapping, terrorism financing, counterfeiting, among others.

The World Bank, in its report, however, said the new policy would negatively affect small businesses especially those who day-to-day cash transactions.

The report read in part, “While periodic currency redesigns are normal internationally and the naira does appear to be due for it since naira notes have been redesigned for two decades, the timing of and short transition period for this demonetization may have negative impacts on economic activity, in particular for the poorest households.

 “International experience suggests that rapid demonetizations can generate significant short-term costs, with small-scale businesses, and poor and vulnerable households, potentially being particularly affected due to being liquidity-constrained and heavily reliant on day-to-day cash transactions.

“At present, households and firms already face elevated financial pressures from prolonged, high inflation, recently compounded by external food and fuel price shocks, and the severe floods, and phasing out existing naira notes over a short time period may add to their challenges.”

The President of the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, Dr Uju Ogunbunka, had also said the objectives of the cashless policy was understandable but noted that the execution and timing were not right.

The newspaper says that the Independent National Electoral Commission on Monday expressed concern that persistent attacks on its facilities were threatening successful conduct of the 2023 elections.

The commission also lamented that its past efforts to curb vote-buying failed, adding that the vice could mar successful conduct of the elections.

The electoral commission expressed the concerns at two different events in Abuja on Monday as part of the preparations for the elections.

Speaking at a two-day workshop on political violence and election security organised by the National Defence College in collaboration with African Global Empowerment and Development Network, the INEC chairman, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, insisted that there must be an end to the attacks on its facilities as well as the insecurity ravaging parts of the country if the commission must conduct free, fair, and credible elections in 2023.

Yakubu added that if the attacks continued till next year, they could impede the successful conduct of the polls.

He also said if the insecurity in some parts of the country did not cease; it could affect candidates’ chances of having the required number of votes stipulated by the constitution to be declared the winner.

The chairman who was represented by INEC National Commissioner and Chairman, Information and Voter Education, Festus Okoye, stated, “The commission is preparing well for the 2023 general elections. Although, we have recorded some reverses in some of the states of the federation in relation to attacks on some of our facilities leading to the destruction of ballot boxes, voting cubicles, and permanent voter cards. We have the capacity to recover from these attacks.”

The Guardian reports that the Nigerian government realised a total of N2.08 trillion from company income tax (CIT) from the first to third quarter of the year.

The value is 55 per cent higher than N1.34 trillion the government pooled in the same period last year. Even with the current quarter yet to be computed, earnings from CIT in 2022 have surpassed that entire amount recorded last year by as much as 23 per cent.

Last year, the total value of CIT was N1.69 trillion. The figure is 27 per cent higher than N1.33 trillion realised from local CIT so far this year. At the end of the year, the annualised value of local CIT would have equaled or surpassed the entire CIT realised in 2021.

According to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), yesterday, the government generated N810.19 billion last quarter, indicating a growth rate of 13.41 per cent on a quarter-on-quarter (q/q) basis from N714.4 billion recorded in Q2.

“Local payments received were N483.17 billion, while Foreign CIT Payment contributed N327.02 billion in Q3 2022. On a quarter-on-quarter basis, the Arts, entertainment and recreation activities recorded the highest growth rate with 93.33 per cent, followed by agriculture, forestry and fishing with 75.38 per cent.

“On the other hand, accommodation and food service activities had the lowest growth rate with – 64.81%, followed by water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities with -64.75%. In terms of sectoral contributions, the top three largest shares in Q3 2022 were manufacturing with 28.76 per cent, information and communication with 27.31 per cent and finance and insurance with 8.81 per cent,” the report stated.

The report also showed that the activities of households as employers, undifferentiated goods and services-producing activities of households for own use recorded the least share with 0.003 per cent, followed by water supply, sewerage, waste management and remediation activities with 0.05 per cent. Activities relating to extraterritorial organisations and bodies contributed 0.11 per cent from N472.52 billion realised in Q3 2021.

The newspaper says that Human rights lawyers and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) have alleged that the Department of State Service (DSS) is plotting to frame the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, on terrorism sponsorship against Nigeria.

To get Emefiele arrested, the group under the auspices of Coalition of National Interest Defenders alleged, the DSS has secretly instituted an action against him at the Federal High Court in Abuja.

Describing the alleged action of the DSS as a strange development in the history of the country, the group demanded immediate sack of the Director General of the DSS, Yusuf Bichi, to prevent him from setting the country ablaze.

Addressing a joint press conference, yesterday, in Abuja, Convener of the Coalition, Tochukwu Ohazuruike, said the security agency filed a motion in court accusing the CBN governor of terrorism financing and others it described as economic crimes of national security dimension.

When contacted by The Guardian, DSS spokesman, Peter Afunanya, did not comment on the matter.

The group further accused the state service of not informing President Muhammadu Buhari of the investigative report, which showed them that Emefiele was a terrorist. It faulted the agency for allowing Emefiele to travel out of the country with the President and having unrestricted access to the President.

Challenging the veracity of the claims of the DSS, the coalition said if truly the DG of DSS believed his claims, he would not have allowed Emefiele anywhere near the President.

He added that allowing the CBN governor travel with the President showed that the DG did not believe Emefiele was a security threat, which meant that the claims of the DSS in Suit No FHC/ABJ/CS/2255/2022 between the service and Emefiele was to forcefully and wrongfully remove him as CBN governor.

He said: “Sometime within the first week of this month, we intercepted credible intelligence about a plot at certain high places in government to stop Emefiele, by all means, and his policy to redesign the naira with its January 31, 2023 deadline and to stop the cash withdrawal limit policy of the bank.”

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