Reacting to the announcement of the planned introduction of the N5000 banknote, the party said in a statements in Abuja that the introduction of a higher denomination was not what Nigerians needed now.
In a press statement signed by the CPC’s National Publicity Secretary, Rotimi Fashakin, the party said:
“The era of ‘Ghana-must-go bags’ dwindled with the introduction of the N500 and N1000 notes in the past. It became easier to carry millions of Naira in moderately-sized brief cases and, inexorably, increasing the incidences of high-profile bribery scandals in the polity.
“Recently, we witnessed the allegations and counter-allegations of solicitation for and receipt of bribe money levied against certain highly influential politicians in the Country. It is axiomatic to infer that those transactions were opaque to the Banking system because of the facilitating ambience of high currency notes. We insist that the introduction of N5000 currency note shall further exacerbate the corruptive tendencies in the Nigerian polity.”
The party said that while it agrees with the CBN’s argument that printing of notes is more expensive than minting coins, “it is difficult to believe that the solution lies in converting the N5, N10 and N20 notes to coins. First, the cultural values of the Nigerian people do not favor use of coins. The question is: how did we fare with the previous conversion of 50k, N1 and N2 Naira notes to coins? In fact, those currencies tacitly went out of circulation as a result of disuse.
“Second, with an economy very susceptible to fragile macroeconomic distortions, the tendency is often for the price of goods and services to be at par with the currency notes in circulation. What will invariably happen is the spiraling inflation that may cause further macroeconomic distortions and unwittingly, bringing about political upheavals.
“Third, the existence of the foregoing scenarios may exacerbate the already polarized Nigerian polity of have’s and have-not’s, with the systematic break-down of the middle class.
“The CBN governor was reported to have said that various segments of the Nigerian state shall be encouraged to create avenues for the usage of coins. As plausible as this may sound, the question is: what efforts have been made in the past to mobilize these segments of the State on the usage of coins and what has been the success rate?
“Furthermore, with the huge mobilization against the pasting of Naira notes on persons at get-together ceremonies, have we succeeded in stamping out this vice? Is it possible to extirpate deep seated cultural practices with hurriedly implemented policies as against allowing structured evolvement vis-à-vis modern realities,” the statement reads.
However, reports have shown that the Central Bank of Nigeria will spend N40.3bn to produce the new coins and naira notes. Out of the amount, N11.8bn will be spent on the new N20, N10 and N5 coins.