President Muhammadu Buhari has blamed some commercial banks in Nigeria for their inefficiencies and underhanded practices, resulting in destabilising the smooth and successful execution of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) policy on the redesigning of new naira notes.
The President, who spoke today, February 3, while hosting the Progressive Governors Forum at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said that the objective of the policy was not to create hardship, but to provide the economy with much-needed revitalisation, adding that the benefits will be borne in the medium and long terms.
He regretted that inefficiencies and underhanded practices being carried out on the part of 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.”
President Buhari said that 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.
He promised to monitor the situation, even as he 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 President said 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 that he received firm assurances that there was enough capacity, manpower and equipment for the domestic execution of this exercise.
He promised to interrogate these assurances as part of his engagement with the responsible agencies of government, even as he thanked the Governors for bringing the cries of the people to him, and assured that there will be a solution to the problem soon.
The Governors had briefed the President, saying that their position is a full support for the policy decision to redesign the currency. They said that they were convinced about the intent behind its thinking.
They however expressed their concern over the current fallout that has had 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 about the economic impact and the potential erosion to the democratic process, particularly the forthcoming general elections.
They, therefore, requested that the President should direct an adequate injection of the new notes and the continued utilisation of the old ones until the end of the year.
Members of the delegation to the meeting were the Governor of Kebbi State, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, who is the Chairman of the Progressive Governors Forum and eleven other governors..