By Abdulhalim Ishaq Ringim
Yes, there’s about N2.73 trillion outside bank vaults. This figure represents 85% of the N3.23 trillion in circulation. However, it only represents 6.5% of more than N49 trillion that is in circulation.
Now, let’s consider Nigeria’s unbanked population which stands at 64 million according to World Bank’s “The Global Findex Database 2021: Financial Inclusion, Digital Payments, and Resilience in the Age of COVID-19” report.
What financial intelligence, as a matter of specificity, does the CBN have regarding the magnitude of the money circulating within this highly populous unbanked system. If we were to assume all the N2.73 trillion is in the hands of these unbanked population, then the amount of money on a per capita basis would be about N42,000. Is that too much?
But we all know this assumption is far from reality because the banked population also hold cash for transactionary and precautionary purposes(as in the case of emergencies). So let’s extend our assumption by adding 50% of the banked population to the unbanked population and let the final figure be the number of people who hold cash either because they are unbanked or because of other purposes as transactions and precautions. The per capita cash amount would reduce to N28,000. Is that also too much?
For the hoarding claims, economically speaking, what is the incentive of hoarding cash in Naira considering the continuous devaluation and inflationary trend that has been wiping the value of the Naira against the dollar when there are various hedging options available? Does the CBN have any tentative intelligence that suggest massive hoarding or is this just another trial and error policy?
But let’s also assume there’s indeed hoarding and some people are holding suspicious money. Have the CBN thought of the possibility that the hoarders might now be forced to consider hedging options by flooding the market with money in exchange for hedging-compatible commodities? Have they considered the inflationary tendencies of such an eventuality? Check Dr. Adamu Tilde’s most recent post to appreciate the happening in real world markets. Is the recent sharp rise of the dollar value also a consequence of such tendencies?
The risk of counterfeiting has always been present. The CBN confiscated N64.7 million and N56.8 million in 2019 and 2022 respectively. Compared to the money in circulation, are these figures significant enough to evoke the need for a currency redesign?
If it is for the purpose of managing inflation and ensuring the CBN contractionary monetary policies become more effective, then let’s assume they succeed in mopping up most of the cash outside banking vaults. Is it increased money circulation that actually causes inflation or increased money supply? Isn’t the CBN culpable in the expansion of money supply through their unhealthy tendencies of printing money for government spending via ways and means? What are they doing about the money supply? What is the government also doing about deficit spending and the projected budgetary deficit for the coming year?
Is our inflation strictly a consequence of the Demand-pull Effect(caused by an increase in money supply or credit with commensurate increase in demand for goods and services and resultant price increases) or is it a consequence of a combination with the Cost-push Effect as a result of increase in Oil prices and other commodities(mostly as a result of global events plus local events e.g insecurity, oil theft, floods etc) that is gradually rippling and causing increase in the prices of production process inputs? Does the CBN also not think that the hike in the prices of commodities as a result of the consequence of hedging(possibility of which has been painted by Adamu Tilde in his recent post) would also contribute in aggravating the Cost-push as a result of hikes in production process inputs?
What is the CBN tackling exactly?
Abdulhaleem Ishaq Ringim writes from Zaria.