Economists Laud Buhari’s Take on Old N200 Notes 

President Muhammadu Buhari (File)

Several financial analysts applaud President Muhammadu Buhari for permitting the use of the outdated N200 notes alongside the newly designed banknotes for a period of 60 days.

From February 10 to April 10, when the old N200 notes no longer qualify as legal currency, the old N200 banknotes will be accepted in circulation alongside the new N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes.

In separate interviews with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos, the financial gurus expressed their praise.

They contend that the old N200 notes will still be used, which will lessen the pain of the majority of the poor people.

The central bank should expand the availability of lesser denomination notes and raise the maximum cash withdrawal amount to at least N100,000, according to Prof. Uche Uwaleke, professor of capital markets at Nasarawa State University, Keffi.

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“More Point of Sale (PoS) machines should be procured, especially by petroleum marketers or petrol stations as many of it currently in use are malfunctioning.’’

Prof. Hassan Oaikhenan of the Department of Economics, University of Benin Benin-City, also agreed that it would reduce the difficulties being experienced by Nigerians due to cash swap policy.

“It will ease the suffering of the Nigerian people to the extent that they can at least transact business with the old N200 notes alongside the new denominations.

“Meanwhile, by implication, the president is saying that N500 and N1000 old notes still remain unusable. The question is how does that tie in with the Supreme Court’s position? That all matters should be put on hold until the issue is determined?’’ he asked.

The President’s comments, according to Dr. Boniface Chizea, Managing Director of BIC Consulting Services, were consoling and demonstrated empathy for the common people.

“I think it’s a welcome development; the President is compassionate about the poor people and I think we can manage the N200 notes.

“This will also accommodate one of the central thrusts of this exercise, which is to stop people from buying votes.

He encouraged the top bank to take ownership of its part in the situation and make sure that bottlenecks were found and removed.

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He said, “If the obstacle is because the Naira that they have printed and released into the system has been underestimated, then they should print more.’’

A professor of Economics and Public Policy at the University of Uyo, Akwa Ibom, Akpan Ekpo stated that the decision to circulate the old N200 notes for another 60 days isn’t the solution to the yearnings of the poor mases.

“The President’s position is not fully reassuring. He should allow the old denominated notes and the new notes to be used side by side. As the banks get the old notes, they keep them, and then later, the central bank can exchange them.

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“Allowing just the old N200 is just temporary, though it is something, but it won’t solve the problem of the poor people,” Ekpo said.

According to NAN, some traders and small retail outlet owners expressed relief that the additional 60 days announced by the President would allow their business return to what it used to be before the announcement of the new Naira notes saga. Although, some of them vowed they will not collect any old notes from consumers.