Naira Scarcity: Buhari to Find Solution in one Week

Paschal Emeka, Abuja | February 4, 2023

As tension brew across the country over the naira redesign and distribution, President Muhammadu Buhari has said he would in one week to take a major decision.

A statement by the Presidential media aide, Mallam Garba Shehu on Friday, disclosed Buhari’s request is as a result of a meeting he held with members of the Progressives Governors Forum at the State House.

According to Shehu, Buhari gave indications that he would within seven days resolve the cash crunch plaguing Nigerians as a result of the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria to change high-value Naira notes with new ones.

The Progressives Governors Forum had appealed to the President to reconsider his stance, especially as the policy was threatening the good records of the administration in transforming the economy.

But Buhari said he believes the currency re-design will give a boost to the economy and provide long-term benefits while expressing doubts about the commitment of banks in particular to the success of the policy.

He indicted some bank managements, saying, “Some banks are inefficient and only concerned about themselves.”

The President, also added that “even if a year is added, problems associated with selfishness and greed won’t go away.”

According to him, he had seen television reports about cash shortages and hardship to local businesses and ordinary people and gave assurances that the balance of seven of the 10-day extension will be used to crack down on whatever stood in the way of successful implementation.

“I will revert to the CBN and the Minting Company. There will be a decision one way or the other in the remaining seven days of the 10-day extension,” the President assured.

Meanwhile, the Governors told the President that, while they agreed that his decision on the renewal of currency was good and they are fully in support, its execution had been botched and their constituents were becoming increasingly upset.

They told the President that, as leaders of the government and party in their different states, they were becoming anxious about a slump in the economy and the series of elections that are coming. They requested the President to use his powers to direct the concurrent flourish of the new and old notes till the end of the year.

The President said when he considered approving the policy, he demanded an undertaking from the CBN that no new notes will be printed in a foreign country and they in turn gave him assurances that there was enough capacity, manpower and equipment to print the currency for local needs. He said he needed to go back to find out what was actually happening.

Buhari told the Governors that, being closer to the people, he had heard their cries and will act in a way that there will be a solution.

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