Economic experts have reacted to the arrest of members of syndicates intercepted selling the new naira notes amid the suffering experienced by Nigerians over the currency’s scarcity nationwide.
On Monday, Nigeria’s secret security, the Department of State Services, DSS, and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, said they busted syndicates trading the banknotes in exchange for profit in Abuja.
According to a statement on Monday by DSS spokesman, Dr Peter Afunanya, in the course of its operations, it also found that Commercial Bank officials were aiding economic malfeasance.
Similarly, the EFCC revealed that it apprehended a syndicate in Dei-Dei and Zone 4 areas of Abuja trading the new naira notes for profit.
The clampdown by security operators confirmed the fears that there are saboteurs within the banking system frustrating efforts to circulate the new naira notes.
Speaking on Monday, a financial expert, Mr Idakolo Gbolade said saboteurs are contributing to the new naira notes scarcity nationwide.
“The hoarding of the new Naira notes for profit is expected. The collaboration with bank officials to make a profit is distasteful. Their behaviour is also contributing to the scarcity of new notes.
“The measure by the DSS should serve as a deterrent to offenders. If the DSS can always track these BDCs and syndicates, it would help to have more of the notes in circulation for ordinary Nigerians to access.
“The CBN also shares in the blame due to the scarcity of the new notes which made these syndicates profit from the scarcity to the detriment of Nigerians.
“As good as the deadline is, the CBN needs to make the new notes available to Nigerians.”
Also, an Accounting and Financial Development don at Lead City University, Ibadan, Prof Godwin Oyedokun, called for more action by the DSS to sanitize the industry.
He explained that the CBN is to be partially blamed for the challenges experienced by Nigerians to access the new naira notes.
“I have always known that the shortage of the naira new notes is not 100 per cent Central Bank of Nigeria’s fault.
“It is so glaring that people are getting the notes illegally. On this note, I expect the DSS to be more vigilant and arrest the perpetrators. It is in our best interest for the DSS to clamp down on such persons.
“There is a need to censor the parallel market dealers, Bureau De Change Operators dealing on unlawful business.
“I would have loved a situation where the extension of the deadline to return the old notes wouldn’t have been the way it is. The extension would have been to mop up the old note, but the currency should have ceased being legal tender by 31 January 2023 as earlier announced,” he stated.
During the weekend, the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, announced a 10-day extension for the deadline to return the old naira notes.
Emefiele emphasized that the government insisted on the naira redesign policy because some people held N2.7 trillion outside the banking system.
Meanwhile, he explained that N1.9trn had been returned so far, representing 75 per cent.