"WR6_gUnUj-ztiW07KQcOCnTel9A"/> Notes From Atlanta: 09/22/12

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Re: Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s Unwanted 5,000 Naira Notes

In light of the National Assembly’s rejection of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi’s 5,000 naira notes and his plan to convert 5, 10 and 20 naira notes to coins—and the renewed interest that this has engendered in Sanusi’s psychotic monetary policies— I thought it would be appropriate to share the reactions to my September 1, 2012 article with the above title. Enjoy.


But this won't cause inflation as people believe. That's what one of our lecturers in the Economics Department of Bayero University, Kano told us today. It's just a matter of money supply. The current denominations would be reduced in favour of the new currency. This, according to him, won't cause any inflation. His only fear is the issue of counterfeiting.
Umar Bello Gwadabe, Kano

As usual, great article, Farooq! The only problem is that it is too pragmatic and commonsensical, which ipso facto makes it completely incomprehensible to our leaders! Pragmatic solutions are the greatest foes of a corrupt leadership full of warped minds.
Michael Oladejo Afolayan, Ibadan

A nice piece.  I thought this man was on our side but lately i just don’t understand him but after reading your column today, everything became clear. May God help us
Fatima Dikko, Abuja

Hi Farooq, why were you so hard on Sanusi with respect to the 5k note. Sanusi is my role model. Please be soft on him next time.
Sanusi Maiwada, Kano

“God dey.”  That has always been our prayers as poor people because one would have thought that we have enough problems on our hands as Nigerians and that our problems were more than just changing naira notes denominations. Anyway, we will keep on praying that all we can do because once people at the top made up their minds, there is no going back. It will just be a little bit delayed. But then let`s give Mallam Sanusi a chance. Maybe he really wants to help our economy in a way that only he understands, but I just hope he remembers that Nigeria is among the underdeveloped countries in the world, so he should not copy too much from the developed world. We should be more practical in our analysis and implementations of policies. Like we say in medicine, it should be evidence based. But I enjoyed the column.
Aisha Nana Mohammed

Farooq, once again you nailed the issues nicely. When will these pampered jokers in the corridors of power do the proper thing: resign? I dare question Sanusi's intellect since he thinks inside the box and is clearly unable to adapt concepts borrowed from the West to suit the unique Nigerian milieu. By the way, I had a humorous time trying to imagine you "wrapping your head around the logic" behind Sanusi's decision to convert N5, N10 and N20 to coins. Way to go!
Jesse Unoh, Calabar

Indeed, since they are always abroad and buy a bottle of coke for 2 Euro or more, they don't see inflation in Nigeria because they spend more time abroad than in Nigeria. However, in our villages people can't afford coke, some don't earn up to 5k as monthly income. Basic pay at federal level is just 18k. Sanusi and all those in government/power or policy makers should know that in the end death and day of accountability await all of us, day when how much money/knowledge one possesses is of no use but, our actions/acts to the rest of humanity.
Salamatu Farouq, Abuja

Indeed a populist inclined piece. For us, we knew the prince is a wolf wearing a sheep’s clothing. We even pray that insensitive people like him will never get to the throne. Thanks prof. Quite a touching work.
Suleiman Aminu Saleh, Kano

Thank you so much, Prof., for enlightening us about a topic that has left many people bewildered in Nigeria. If not for your explanation, I wouldn't have logically understood Sanusi's malicious policy. This is a man that many believed was a first class material. Having tarnished his image before 160 million Nigerians by advocating for the total removal of fuel subsidy, he has now come up with another weird policy that is very infelicitous.

I don't know how truthful this story is, but I once heard that about 70% of the entire US populace has never set their eyes on the $1000 bill. If you compare this to Nigeria's N1000, it’s as common as tissue papers. It’s said that money should be scarce in order to regain its value. But Nigeria's N1000 is very rampant. You find it frequently in our ATM machines, among mechanics, local bike men, etc.

Let the senate and the reps stand firm against him (even if it’s to their own advantage). They should remember they both swore with their respective Holy Books to do justice and represent their people superbly. This is the best time to do so. Sanusi should also remember that he is gradually denting his future political ambitions. I'm sure Nigeria wouldn't vote for him whenever he intends to vie for any post even though our political system is very inept.
Muhammad El-Bonga Ibraheem, Abuja

My comment
The highest American dollar denomination in circulation now is the $100 bill. There used to be $500, $1,000, $5,000, and $10,000 bills between 1934 and 1945, which were never used by the general public. Their distribution was discontinued in 1969. But even the $100 bill is so scarce that I would wager that more than 80 percent of Americans never see or use it. It’s rarely used in everyday transactions. The highest dollar denomination American ATMs dispense is $20.

According to the US Treasury Department, high denominations were discontinued in the US because “electronic money transfer systems had rendered large paper bills unnecessary.” Now, compare this to Sanusi’s muddled logic: he wants to introduce a higher denomination ("targeted at a small number of Nigerians handling huge cash," according to him) at the same time that he wants to introduce a “cashless economy,” which is basically shorthand for electronic money transfer systems. 

In the US, the dawn of a “cashless economy” obviated the need for high dollar bills. For Sanusi, however, “cashless economy” isn’t inconsistent with higher naira denominations. Talk of a man whose thought-processes are held prisoner by a self-inflicted schizophrenic disorder!

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