On Friday, February 3, 2023, President Buhari urged citizens to give him seven days to resolve the cash crunch that has become a problem across the country due to the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria to replace high-value Naira notes with new ones.
Speaking to the Progressive Governors Forum, who had gathered at the Presidential Villa to seek solutions to the cash crunch, which they claimed was jeopardizing the administration’s record of economic transformation.
Buhari said the currency redesign will give a boost to the economy and provide long-term benefits, but he expressed doubts about the commitment of banks in particular to the success of the policy. “Some banks are inefficient and only concerned about themselves,” said the president, “and even if a year is added, problems associated with selfishness and greed won’t go away.”
He said he had seen television reports about cash shortages and hardships for local businesses and ordinary people and gave assurances that the remaining seven days of the 10-day extension would 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.
The Governors told the President that, while they agreed that his decision on the renewal of currency was good and they were 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.
When considering whether to approve the policy, the President stated that he demanded assurance from the CBN that no new notes would be printed in a foreign country, and they in turn assured him 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 would act in such a way that there would be a solution.
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