President Muhammadu Buhari Friday urged citizens to give him a seven-day window to resolve the currency crunch that has emanated from the implementation of the Central Bank policy to change high value Naira notes with newly designed ones.
The President said this while speaking to the Progressive Governors Forum who met with him at the Council Chambers, where they sought to share with him the negative impact of the Central Bank policy, which is undermining the painstaking efforts that have been put forth by this administration in transforming the economy.
He expressed that the objective of the policy was not to create hardship, rather, its aim is to provide the economy with much needed revitalisation and the benefits will be borne in the medium to long term. Unfortunately, inefficiencies and underhanded practices being carried out on the part of our banks as the primary distribution medium, have destabilised the smooth and successful execution of the policy. “Some banks are inefficient and only concerned about themselves,” said the President, “an extension of the time frame within which to complete this process will be made insignificant for as long as greed and selfishness continue to guide our actions.”
The President said he had received and seen televised reports about cash shortages and undue hardships that local businesses and the citizens are being subjected to and gave assurances that the balance of the seven of the 10-day extension will be used to rectify whatever issues that pose a threat to successful implementation.
While continuing to monitor the situation, the President assured that he will be meeting with both the CBN and the Security and Minting Company and a decision will be taken based on current realities in the best interest of the people.
The Governors while briefing the President, reiterated their position which is in full support of the policy decision to redesign the currency, and were convinced about the intent behind its thinking, but shared their concern regarding the current fallout which has a debilitating impact on their constituencies.
They told the President that, as leaders within the party and the government in their various states, they were becoming anxious regarding the economic impact and the potential erosion to our democratic process, particularly the upcoming general elections. They, therefore, requested that the President directs an adequate injection of the new notes and the continued utilisation of the old ones until the end of the year.
The President stated that when considering the policy, prior to its initial approval, he demanded an undertaking from the CBN that no new notes will be printed outside the country, and he received firm assurances that there was enough capacity, manpower and equipment for the domestic execution of this exercise. However, he would interrogate these assurances as part of his engagement with the responsible agencies of government. Finally, he thanked the Governors for bringing the cries of the people to him, given their proximity to them and assured that there will be a solution to the problem.
In addition to the leader of the delegation, the Governor of Kebbi State, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, who is the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum, eleven other governors were present at the meeting