Scarcity of Naira: Buhari, FG Worried over Long Queues in Banks - Finance Minister

Paschal Emeka, Abuja | February 2, 2023

The Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Zaniab Ahmed has stated that President, Muhammadu Buhari and the Federal Government share in the pain Nigerians are going through in accessing the new naira notes, adding that it was a temporary stress which will soon fizzle out.

Ahmed made the assertions when she was featured at the 65th State House briefings coordinated by the Presidential Media Team on Thursday, in Abuja.

She likened the current situation being experienced by Nigerians to a patient having a wound or deep sore but must submit to excruciating pain while undergoing treatments.

She said the government is, however, pleased that sizeable old funds have been mopped back into the banking system, which will in turn give the regulatory agencies control over the nation’s currencies.

A visit to most bank Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in the Abuja metropolis shows long queues of people trying to access their funds with little or no success. Some residents have resorted to visiting ATMs at odd hours in search of the new currency.

Some videos of frustrated customers having difficulties accessing their money have been trending on social media since Tuesday.

But Ahmed in her response to the question on whether the government is actually worried over the development in the financial sector said: ”Of course, we are worried, we are not happy that citizens have to queue and struggle to get their cash but this is a temporary situation.

“Let me give you an analogy, this situation can be compared to a patient having a sore and while treating the sore, you must apply some iodine or spirit which is usually very painful.

”Mr. President is not happy that citizens are suffering but at the closing date which the Central Bank of Nigeria has given, it will not all be over as a window still exists for people to return their old notes.

“There is also the positive side to it, which is that a lot of currency has been mopped up back into the system”.

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