Naira Re-denomination might help stop the abusive fall.

Christopher Okoli (Nigerian-American based Investment Advisor) 02/19/2016

China’s slowing economic growth, the global currency devaluation war and plummeting crude oil prices are now forcing Nigerians to change many years of accommodative lifestyles that they have been enjoying for over five decades. It is no longer a secret that Nigeria is among countries that rank very high in the list of corrupt countries in the world. There is nothing like a perfect system of government anywhere in world, however, when institutions that were put in place to check and balance any system of government were crudely, ignorantly and mindlessly destroyed, such a system of government can degenerate into a failed or chronically corrupt nation. Absolute power must always corrupt absolutely. Re-denomination of Naira like replacing the large bills of N100, N200, N500 and N1,000 notes with smaller notes would definitely create high degree of difficulties in moving the currency around the country, thereby forcing Nigerians into more bank-oriented transactions and a surge towards the cashless alternative of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)

So for Nigerians that conspicuously blame their past leaders, like Olusegun Obasanjo, Sani Abacha, Ibrahim Babangida, Goodluck Jonathan, and probably Muhammadu Buhari, means the country is ignorant of the root of the problem or that Nigerians are not ready for change. Nigeria was collectively destroyed by all Nigerians both at home and those in Diaspora, because if Nigerians had spoken out when the institutions were being destroyed, the country would not have gotten to this terrible point of dismay, instead, majority of Nigerians were having tribal selective amnesia towards the selected and elected leaders.

The world renewed interest in Nigeria when some leaders honestly owned up that bringing down corruption to a manageable level will change the trajectory of the country. Many Nigerians and foreign institutional investors threw their support on the current president Muhammadu Buhari after he said in a live interview on CNN that “Nigeria must kill corruption or Corruption will kill Nigeria”. After eight months of president Buhari’s administration in the country, there seems to be a progressively but less noticeable inroads into the fight against impunity because many untouchables have not yet been strategically engaged, talk less of convicting them.

Nigerians have actually failed to realize that president Buhari is a democratically elected president, and can never get to the untouchables without the help of the masses.  The fact still remains that Buhari would not have become the president of the country, if those untouchables were not directly or indirectly involved in the financing of his campaign bills, wisdom should be applied in dealing with the untouchables. Nonetheless, the battle on corruption can never be won with the status of the untouchables being left intact. It will just be wishful and illusionary thinking on Nigerians to expect president Buhari to win the war on impunity without their active participation on the battle of impunity.

As President Muhammadu Buhari is busy fighting past corrupt deeds, new ones are increasingly being perpetuated in the country. This new administration must now engage in two battles; trying to recover some of the looted funds and plugging all the loopholes to stop ongoing looting.

Here are some of the tools to help win the war on impunity;

  1. Treasury Single Account
    Nigerians should commend the new administration for having the courage to have implemented TSA in helping to stop ongoing looting in the country.  When a nation operates thousands of accounts by different parastatals, abuse is inevitable, because each account can be used unnoticed to loot the treasury for years.
  2. Phasing Out Large Notes.

Here is another major tool to help plug the ongoing looting in the country, because looting cannot stop overnight. Majority of underground economic activities (bribes) are usually being transacted and perpetuated with hard currency, and by simply replacing the N100, N200, N500 and the N1, 000 notes with smaller bills, major transactional loopholes must have been plugged.

Secondly, phasing out large notes in the country will definitely help to achieve the long outstanding dream of CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) to make the country a cashless nation. I am not sure that any sensible Nigerian would love to move around with truck load of N2, 000,000 once the country phases out the large currency notes.

Moving large boxes of Naira to engage in illegitimate business must definitely catch the attentions of good law abiding citizens and some law enforcement officers. Can a Nigerian imagine the degree of difficulties in moving N5, 000,000 Naira in N20 denominators as against such movement in N1, 000 notes? Phasing out Naira’s large notes will definitely force Nigerians that are hiding such notes to turn them into the banking system.

The level of corrupt practices in Nigeria actually escalated with the introduction of larger denominated Naira notes, and pulling out such large notes from the system, must definitely increase bank base transactional activities. This tool can also come handy in fighting high inflationary rate in the country also.

It is my humble prayer that one of Nigeria’s policy makers will stumble upon this article and open a national dialogue on this powerful tool. Nigeria is a peaceful and God fearing country, and all the people need to do is simply purge chronic corruption away, and see how the country will triumph in every aspect of endeavors. Nigeria was collectively destroyed by all Nigerians, the looters, the cheerleaders, supporters, unconcerned ones, leaders and followers, rebuilding the country must also be a collective effort.


Twitter; @chrisokoli2

Supporting books; Crude World of Oil,  Africa – Emerging or Tapering Continent, African Dilemma and Nigerian Promising Era.