President Muhammadu Buhari has urged Nigerians to give him seven days to resolve the cash crunch that has become a problem across the country from the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to change high value naira notes with new ones.
The president, according to a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, stated this while speaking to the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors who visited the Presidential Villa to seek solutions to the cash crunch, which they said was threatening the good records of the administration in transforming the economy.
Buhari said the currency redesign 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.
“Some banks are inefficient and only concerned about themselves. Even if a year is added, problems associated with selfishness and greed won’t go away,” Buhari said.
The president said 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 crackdown 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,” he assured.
The APC 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 noted 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.
The governors requested the president to use his powers to direct the concurrent flourish of the new and old notes till the end of the year.
Responding, Buhari said when he considered giving approval to the policy, he demanded an undertaking from 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 currency for local needs.
He added that he needed to go back to find out what was actually happening.
Buhari told the governor 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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