A former Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Obadiah Mailafia on Monday said that about 20% of the naira notes currently in circulation around the country are fake.
Mailafa who disclosed this on Monday at the opening session of a three-day public hearing on 2017 budget appropriation process in the National Assembly said the government is not aware of massive fake currency in circulation.
He also alleged that investors’ knowledge of huge economic potentials injected in the country accounted for the recent over-subscription of $1 billion Eurobond initiated by the Federal Government.
He added that it would be detrimental to the growth of the economy, stating that original currency remains scarce with such magnitude of fake notes.
The former deputy governor warned the Federal Government and financial regulators against toying with high-interest rate, pointing out that it will only aggravate the nation’s economic woes.
He also warned against contemplating increasing tax, suggesting that the Federal Government should rather drive for more income tax by getting more people to pay taxes instead of increasing it.
It would be recalled that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had said it discovered N2,97120.00 counterfeit currency notes in circulation in Kano state between January and November 2016.
While disclosing this during the 2015/2016 Kano bankers dinner and award night ceremony held at Tahir Guest Palace Hotel Kano, the CBN branch controller Kano state, Mrs. Abubakar Ameena Pindar, said the statistics when compared to that of previous years reveals that the trend needs to be nipped in the bud.
Noting that serious attention and measures were needed to stop the ugly trend by all stakeholders in the financial industry, she requested the cooperation of all financial institutions with the CBN in ensuring that counterfeit currency was mopped out of circulation in the nation.
Meanwhile, a Lagos-based lawyer, Obiora Akabogu, who spoke on the persistent of the fall of the naira said the crippling effects of the fall in crude oil prices, which has put significant pressure on the naira against the dollar, would have been mitigated if President Muhammadu Buhari had declared an economic emergency either by executive fiat or writing to the National Assembly for powers to apply price control mechanisms to halt the free fall of the naira.
Akabogu who spoke to the Nation lamented that the Federal Government ought not to have allowed the free fall of the naira to continue for such a long time, unleashing untold hardship on Nigerians when the president could have taken proactive emergency price control measures to force down inflation and halt the free fall of the naira.
Nigeria is currently facing three-quarters of negative Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth and experiencing one of its worst inflation and revenue drops in over a decade. Inflation rate currently stands at 18.55
Inflation rate currently stands at 18.55 %, according to the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS). The naira is also facing serious pressure against the dollar, with the exchange rate as high as N306 and N497 at the official and parallel markets, respectively.