Published On: Mon, Oct 22nd, 2012

Sanusi and critics of N5,000 note


SIR: One takes exception to the reaction of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, to the critics of the planned N5,000 note as published in The Guardian, on Wednesday, August 12, 2012. One of such critics is our former President Olusegun Obasanjo who had sincerely made his comment that the introduction of a higher bill would cause more inflation in the country. Sanusi reacted: “I know President Olusegun Obasanjo to be a very successful farmer. But he is a bad economist. Obasanjo is also known to have the record of the President under whose tenures the highest bills have been introduced. And their introduction didn’t cause inflation because of tight monetary policies. That is why I find it difficult to believe that former President Obasanjo made those statements…there is no correlation between a higher introduction and inflation.”

By this reaction, Sanusi is reducing this serious economic issue to a mere academic exercise. He is also demonstrating his arrogance and imperviousness to criticisms. The critics mean well for the common man on the street that makes up the largest bulk of this country’s citizens and who will definitely bear the brunt of the introduction of this planned N5,000 note. This is the Nigerian who goes to markets, uses the public transportation system and engages in other petty buying and selling transactions. When the bus conductor is shouting that the passenger should have his or her “change” before entering the bus, those moving with siren would never understand.

The common Nigerian wants to understand clearly without the rhetorics of economics how to get the bus conductor break down N5,000 note without any stress after boarding the bus. He or she wants to know how the market woman who sells crayfish and pepper would break down N5,000 note without asking him or her to spend more money because of the scarcity of the smaller denominations of our currency that might be artificially created. You can’t beat Nigerians at such antics. These are some of the real situations daily facing a common Nigerian.

Many Nigerians are protesting against the introduction of the N5,000 note.

In fact, it is one of the plans that have met with overwhelming resistance across the country in recent times. But Sanusi and his men at the CBN have remained adamant. They are unrelenting in their efforts to ram it down our throat whether we like it or not. They are telling us that they understand the workings of our economy better and are defending the plan passionately.

They are doing this both through face-to-face communication and paid advertisements in the national newspapers. They are determined to go ahead with its implementation, citing other countries where higher bills are used as examples of working economies. The point should be made that our policy makers should learn to listen when the people talk. We are no longer in the era of military dictatorship.

• Leo Smart, Ubiaja, Edo State.

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