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President Buhari meets governors over cash crisis

The governors expressed their disapproval of the government's policy of redesigning some of the country's currency notes and the consequent scarcity of new notes.


Chris Ewokor

BBC News, Abuja

Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari has met the state governors from his ruling All Progressives Congress party (APC) over the challenges arising from a scarcity of local currency in the country.

At the meeting held in the presidential palace, the governors expressed their disapproval of the government’s policy of redesigning some of the country’s currency notes and the consequent scarcity of new notes.

Some of the governors who spoke to journalists at the end of the meeting said that they explained to the president the inappropriateness of taking such a step at this time and the problems the measure has caused the nation.

They therefore suggested that the president should rethink the policy and allow the new and old naira notes to coexist for some time, to alleviate the sufferings of Nigerians.

A lot of people are complaining about the lack of access to cash. The new banknotes seem to be unavailable at banks, which have seen an influx of customers.

Protests are happening outside the banks and people have also been seen fighting at ATM points in their attempts to get cash.

There are also complaints that online bank transfers aren’t going through.

There are indications that the policy of redesigning the local currency and current fuel scarcity have increased the Nigerians’ dissatisfaction with the ruling party ahead of the general elections later this month.

The governors seem to fear that the situation could affect the APC’s chances at the polls.

In a statement at the end of the meeting, President Buhari acknowledged the cash shortages and hardship being faced by people and businesses on account of the naira redesign and sought to assure Nigerian the government would get the situation under control, as we reported earlier.

The deadline to exchange old notes for the new ones was supposed to have been 31 January, but it was extended by 10 days to give more people in rural areas time to get the new notes, the central bank’s governor said.

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