On Friday, President Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret.) pleaded with Nigerians to allow him seven days to fix the nationwide cash shortage caused by the Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision to replace high-value naira notes with new ones.
Buhari told the Progressive Governors’ Forum, who paid him a visit at the Presidential Villa to seek solutions to the cash crunch, which they said was threatening the administration’s efforts to transform the economy, that the currency re-design would give the economy a boost and provide long-term benefits. He questioned the dedication of banks in particular to the achievement of the policy.
“Some banks are inefficient and only concerned about themselves”, said the President, “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 hardship to local businesses and ordinary people and gave assurances that the balance of seven 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 was quoted to have said in a statement released by his spokesman, Garba Shehu.
The governors told the President that while they agreed that his decision on the currency redesign was good and that they were fully in support, its execution had been botched and their constituents were becoming increasingly upset.
As government and party leaders in their respective states, they expressed concern to the President about the impending economic downturn and the next election cycle.
They urged that the President utilize his authority to oversee the parallel growth of new and old currency until the end of the year.
The President stated that when he contemplated approving the program, he wanted an assurance from the CBN that no new notes would be manufactured abroad, and they assured him that there was sufficient capacity, staff, and equipment to print the currency for local requirements. He stated that he needed to return to determine what was occurring.
Buhari reminded the governors that, since he was closer to the people, he had heard their pleas and would act to find a solution.
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