President Muhammadu Buhari has assured Nigerians that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will ensure an improved distribution of the recently released new naira notes.
This is coming following concerted calls demanding an extension of the January 31 deadline given by the CBN for the swapping of the old naira notes for the new ones in commercial banks of the country.
According to Garba Shehu, presidential spokesperson on Saturday, the president said the decision to redesign the naira was to address hoarding of illicit funds.
While acknowledging reports of long queues at banks, Buhari said the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is working on initiatives to “prevent chaos” over the distribution of the newly released notes.
“President Muhammadu Buhari, Saturday assured that government will ensure that citizens are unharmed in their businesses and no disruption is caused to the entire supply chain arising from the currency swap due to end shortly,” the statement adds.
“Reacting to reports of long queues of people waiting for hours for their turn to deposit old notes and get new ones, triggering public anger and opposition’s criticism, President Buhari reiterated that the currency changes were aimed at people hoarding illicit funds and not the common man, and that it had become necessary to prevent counterfeits, corruption, and terrorist funding.
“This, he assured, will stabilise and strengthen the economy.
“While taking note that the poorest section of society is facing hardship as they often keep hard cash at home for various expenses, President Buhari gave strong assurances that the government will not leave them to their own fate.
“He reiterated that a number of initiatives by the Central Bank and all commercial banks are underway to speed up distribution of the new notes and do all that is necessary to forestall cash squeeze and chaos.”
Several Governors including Governor Umar Abdullahi Ganduje of Kano State, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, Federal Parliamentarians including the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar called for an extension of the January 31 deadline.
Abubakar demanded a slight adjustment to the deadline saying the pain triggered by the CBN’s action has caused unintended hardship for hapless citizens.
The former Vice President in a video on Thursday titled, “My position on the CBN January 31st deadline on the new Naria notes” applauded the monetary conversion policy as a worldwide practice but stressed that the deadline is unrealistic and should be slightly adjusted.
CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele had on Wednesday January 25,
foreclosed extension of January 31 deadline for the return of old Naira notes.
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