President Muhammadu Buhari has indicted some banks’ Chief Executive Officers, and CEOs on the scarcity of the naira notes in circulation, accusing them of selfishness and inefficiency, saying that they have not done well in circulating the new notes.
The President also 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 to change high-value Naira notes with new ones.
The President spoke to All Progressive Party governors who met him at the Presidential Villa to seek a review of government policy on the Naira, arguing that a review would ensure solutions to the cash crunch which they said was threatening the good records of the administration in transforming the economy.
President Buhari in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu said the currency re-design 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.
The statement quoted the President as saying, “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.”
The President said he had noted reports about cash shortages and hardship on local businesses and ordinary people and gave assurances that the remaining seven of the 10-day extension will 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 use of the new and old notes till the end of the year.
The President said when he considered giving approval to the policy, he demanded an undertaking from the 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 the currency for local needs. He said he needed to go back to find out what was actually happening.