While speaking in an interview with journalists in Ilorin on Tuesday, December 20th, Abdulfatah Ahmed, a former governor of Kwara State, described the new monetary policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria as a policy in the right direction capable of strengthening the nation’s democracy.
Ahmed, who is a financial specialist, claimed that the new policy will ensure that the elections set for February and March 2023 run as planned and help to build the nation’s democracy.
According to reports from The Punch, he stated that cash is meant for the exchange of goods and services and not meant for store of value, adding that Nigeria had more cash outside the banking industry than it has in the banking industry.
Ahmed, a two-term governor and the immediate past governor of Kwara State, described the CBN monetary policy as a masterstroke, adding that money had been at the forefront of the nation’s elections and that it had beclouded people’s capacity to question those who want to rule them.
“As far as I am concerned, it’s a good policy. It will help the CBN control and ensure that their monetary policies are functional within the premises of what’s available in cash so that they can manage and monitor the flow of cash in the system.”
“As a keen observer of our current economic situation, you’ll all agree with me that we have more cash outside the banking industry than you have in the banking industry.”
“And what’s cash? Cash is meant for intermediation for the exchange of goods and services and not meant for a store of value. When it becomes a store of value, there’s trouble. It means somebody is holding on to what should be going around just because it’s available to be held.”
“Now, the CBN is saying take this thing back to the bank. If you want to hold it let it be with the custodians; or deposit banks. When you need it, you withdraw for exchange of goods and services.”
“Secondly, I see it as a master stroke. This is because money has been at the forefront of the nation’s elections. The implications in that it has beclouded our capacity to question those who want to come and take responsibility for ruling us. It has also beclouded our capacity to question what programmes they have for us or to see whether they truly deserve to be voted in or not because we get beclouded with money taken upfront.”
“For the first time, this change in naira will make it a bit difficult for cash to be available as it were for that purpose. So, what the policy is telling us is that money will not be at the forefront in determining how we select leaders again.”
“If that’s one key thing we’re able to achieve, it’s a way forward. Though, all we desire can’t be achieved in one sweep as it takes time to perfect it. US overcome ballot box snatching in the 50s. We’ll overcome ours too with time. Every policy taking us inching towards it should be embraced. We shouldn’t be hopeless. It’s beyond individual interests. It’s about selflessness to strengthen our democracy,” he said.
The former PDP governor criticised the current APC administration in the state, complaining that he observed a significant mismatch between current policies and those previously in place under previous administrations, which he claimed would have benefited the populace.
“I take governance from a stepwise perspective, where benefits are created for the majority of people in the state. Governance should be seen from a continuity perspective. As it is today, I see a lot of disconnect in some of the policies we put in place whereby now people would have been benefiting from.”
“This disconnect usually leads to wastage of public resources as projects are not taken to completion level where people could benefit from. There are incongruences in policy application and programme development,” he said.
He advised the APC government to key into programmes met on ground towards reviewing and reforming them, where applicable, for the overall benefit of the state and to safeguard public funds.
He also identified inconsistency in health programmes, education policies, economy, and infrastructure, saying that there was no nexus between old and new programmes for improved benefits of the state.