President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday asked Nigerians to give him seven days to resolve the cash crunch following the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s redesigning of the naira notes.
He said this while speaking to the Progressive Governors’ Forum (PGF) who visited him at the Presidential Villa in Abuja to seek solutions to the cash crunch which they said was threatening the good records of the administration in transforming the economy.
President Buhari told the All Progressives Congress (APC) governors that the currency re-design will give a boost to the economy and provide long-term benefits.
He also expressed doubts about the commitment of banks in particular to the success of the policy.
According to a statement released after the meeting by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on media and publicity, Garba Shehu, the President stated that some banks are inefficient and only concerned about themselves and that even if a year is added, problems associated with selfishness and greed won’t go away.
Buhari 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 crack down on whatever stood in the way of successful implementation.
The President further promised that he will revert to the CBN and the Minting Company and a decision will be taken.
According to the statement, the 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 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 further requested the President to use his powers to direct that the old and new notes co-circulate till the end of the year.
The President said when he considered giving the approval to the policy, he had 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.
Against this backdrop, he declared that he needed to go back to find out what was actually happening, assuring the governors that being closer to the people, he had heard their cries and will act in a way that there will be a solution.