Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, a well-known and controversial Islamic cleric, has spoken out against the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) redesign of the naira, calling it economic suicide for Nigerians, particularly rural residents.
Gumi asserted that 80 percent of Nigerians, particularly those living in rural areas, rely on cash transactions.
Gumi warned any strategy that will lead to further cash shortages will be disastrous for the country in a statement titled: “Changing the Naira: This is no time for economic kamikaze!”
He went on to say that the strategy would not deprive kidnappers of money since they might decide to demand dollars and other currencies in order to make life for the general public more difficult.
Most Nigerians don’t have the money to buy items, thus most vendors are operating at a loss and have already folded up, according to those who sell goods. Any further financial shortage at this point would be disastrous for the country.
“Wrong timing taints many good ideas. This will probably be the next one. No matter how cleverly the hatchers romanticize, the benefit will remain phantom because the actual situation is incongruous and will end the escapade.
“Cash transactions are essential for 80% of Nigerians, especially those living in rural areas. They will become paupers quickly if society suddenly becomes cashless or cash-strapped, which might cause – God knows – an unparalleled socio-economic upheaval in this community of semi-skilled or unskilled people.
“This kind of scheme is not appropriate for a government that is close to collapse. If such experiences have any upsides, they typically come after years of painful poverty and hardship, which no well-meaning government should leave to another incoming administration to handle.
“Had it begun in 2015, it might have made sense given that the same government would be responsible for the consequences of its action.
We have seen firsthand how the prohibition of motorbikes, the sale of gasoline, and the obstruction of communication in states where banditry is rife did not help to reduce the threat but rather made the public suffer much more. This demonstrates unequivocally that the government does not weigh the advantages and disadvantages of its efforts, which are often random, poorly planned, and worst of all, crudely carried out.
“Taking money from the public while claiming that it will fill commercial banks will provide a few people who run the banks an unfair advantage over the general public. It’s certain economic suicide for the North, which is little represented in the banking sector.
How many people in Nigeria have bank accounts? How many people have the opportunity to take advantage of the simplest financial loans? It is not news that you must know someone to obtain a loan. With such strict control over currency flow, Nigeria is moving closer to communism and totalitarianism.
“A free market economy with minimal cash flow management is what we need. Regarding the issue of famished Naira kidnappers, it goes without saying that they would turn to Dollars and other hard currencies, which will increase pressure on it and make the already dire situation much worse.
“Hard enforcement, social fairness for all, and equitable economic distribution are the only ways to stop kidnapping. Nothing cosmetic will be able to stop it. May Allah open our eyes and keep us from stepping into a burning building. Amin, he uttered.