The National Headquarters of the Muslim Congress (TMC) has called on the federal government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to urgently find a lasting solution to the challenges facing Nigerians as a result of scarcity of new and old Naira notes in order to avert consequential cataclysm.
In a press statement signed by its Amir (President), Alhaji AbdulWasi’i Taiwo Bangbala on Monday, February 13, 2023, the faith-based organisation said many banks have reportedly not had enough of the new notes, leading to total chaos and desperation on the part of the citizenry, who are also finding it difficult to withdraw old notes.
Bangbala noted that currency re-designing and cashless economy are welcome developments, adding, “Such policies, however, require robust and adequate planning and monitoring.”
According to him, “The scarcity of cash, both old and new notes, has been further compounded by service downtime being experienced by the people on Internet banking, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and Point of Sales (PoS) machines.
“The crisis has given undue advantage to opportunists and enemies of the state to cannibalise their fellow citizens, as some unscrupulous elements have now contrived to exploit the already troubled Nigerians due to the short supply of cash – a stark reality of how badly our national values have been eroded by avarice and cupidity.
“Hoarding of items as essential as the local legal tender during difficult times like this with the intention of selling them at higher rates to people who are compelled to purchase them is _Haram_ (forbidden) and a greater sin in Islam. It is promised eternal perdition!”
Read full press statement below
TMC CHARGES THE AUTHORITIES ON NAIRA CRISIS, COMMISERATES WITH DISASTER RAVAGED COMMUNITY AND NATIONS
The Muslim Congress calls on the government and the authorities to, as a matter of urgency, resolve all issues relating to the newly designed currency. Currency redesign and cashless economy are economic policies that have become the mainstay of many economies of the world. That Nigeria’s policy drivers are keen to have the nation embrace the same is well-founded. It is a welcome development for us as a nation if we must move from a primitive to a modern society. However, such public policies require robust and adequate planning and monitoring. .
It is a global best practice for central banks to redesign and circulate new local legal tenders at least once in 10 years. The Naira has not been redesigned in the last 2 decades and to that extent, there is nothing wrong with the idea.
Notwithstanding, with the economic and social disruptions arising from the flawed implementation of the policy in recent weeks, it becomes highly imperative that the authorities do their utmost to resolve the issues and save the country from an impending anarchy. The situation at hand is analogous to war and may not fade away sooner, especially given the antics of the profiteers.
For a policy of great strategic public consequence as this, there is need for a decisive synchrony of purpose between and among critical stakeholders. The CBN’s announcement of the policy few months ago should have been followed by horizontal and vertical community engagements for proper political management. And while it is important for the CBN to checkmate the antics of the speculators , it should never be at the expense of the ordinary people who are now suffering from systemic inadequacies.
The time allotted to the policy is starkly insufficient and practically impossible to cover within the period given. And with the grossly inadequate financial and banking infrastructure, the scant availability of Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and all, the policy implementation was doomed to be fazed by encumbrances.
We, therefore, welcome the Supreme Court’s decision to temporarily halt the February 10th deadline to stop using the old banknotes following a legal challenge initiated by Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara States. Many banks have reportedly not had enough of the new notes, leading to total chaos and desperation on the part of the ordinary citizens. The CBN and the Federal Government must obey the court order in the interest of the hapless citizens in order to avoid an imminent slide into anarchy and total breakdown of law and order.
The scarcity of cash, both old and new notes, has been further compounded by service downtime being experienced by the people on Internet banking, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) and Point of Sales (PoS) machines. The crisis has given undue advantage to opportunists and enemies of the state to cannibalize their fellow citizens, as some unscrupulous elements have now contrived to exploit the already troubled Nigerians due to the short supply of cash- A stark reality of how badly our national values have been eroded by avarice and cupidity. Hoarding of items as essential as the local legal tender during difficult times like this with the intention of selling them at higher rates to people who are compelled to purchase them is _Haram_ (forbidden) and a greater sin in Islam. It is promised eternal perdition!
Pophet Muhammad (pbuh) said that he heard angel Jibril say that there was a valley in Hell and fierce fire blazed in it. When he asked the caretaker of Hell about those who would be put there, he said that it was for three groups: The hoarders, the drunkards, and those who earned a commission on unlawful deals. (Mustadrak al-Wasa’il Vol. 2 page 314).
The hoarding of the new notes as observed with some commercial banks and the black-marketing of the Naira by PoS merchants, who have resorted to fleecing the people via high charges, are forms of exploitation that Islam forbids, especially when people are in dire need and are willing to pay at any cost. Islam has laid down principles that not only regularise trading but also seek to safeguard the rights and interests of people.
The Naira redesign policy is a good one, after all, the legal tender was redesigned in 1984, but there was no cash crunch, which shows that it is not the policy but the implementation that is faulty. It is clear to see that the public would be thrown into a tailspin if the policy is to be undertaken within the space of a few weeks. We applaud the National Council of State intervention and its call for the CBN to print more notes or re-circulate the old notes to ease the sufferings of Nigerians. At this point, the government must leave no stone unturned in addressing the issues while the CBN governor and his team must ensure the money crisis rocking the country is resolved with immediate alacrity.
Alhaji AbdulWasi’I Taiwo Bangbala,
Amir, The Muslim Congress
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