Give me 7 days to make major decision on Naira re-design, Buhari begs Nigerians

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President Muhammadu Buhari

…Says some banks are inefficient, only concerned about themselves

…Direct concurrent flourish of new, old notes till year-end, govs tell president

…Atiku, PDP working with saboteurs – Tinubu

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday urged Nigerians to give him seven days to resolve the cash crunch that has become a problem across the country as a result of the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to change high value Naira notes with new ones.

Speaking to the Progressive Governors Forum who came to the Presidential Villa to seek solutions to the cash crunch which they said was threatening the good records of the administration in transforming the economy.

President Buhari 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.

“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,” he said.

He also said he had seen television reports about cash shortages and hardships to local businesses and ordinary people and gave assurances that the balance of seven of the 10-day extension would 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,” Buhari said further.

On their part, the governors told the president that, while they agreed that his decision on the renewal of currency was good and that they were fully in support, its execution had been botched and their constituents were becoming increasingly upset.

They also 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 were coming.

They requested the President to use his powers to direct the concurrent flourish of the new and old notes till the end of the year.

The President said when he considered giving the approval to the policy, he demanded an undertaking from the CBN that no new notes would 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 further that he needed to go back to find out what was actually happening.

President Buhari told the governors further that, being closer to the people, he had heard their cries and would act in a way that there would be a solution.

Tinubu accuses PDP, Atiku

Meanwhile, the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu, has accused the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, of working with saboteurs in the ruling party on the current scarcity of the new Naira notes.

A statement released Friday in Abuja by Tinubu’s Presidential Campaign Council declared that “anyone who lives in Nigeria and not Dubai and visits banks and ATM locations will feel sad that the CBN is making Nigerians suffer for its Naira swap policy.”

The statement signed by the PCC Director, Media and Publicity, Bayo Onanuga, said the current sabotage of the Naira notes swap and fuel scarcity that had caused untold hardship to millions of Nigerians across the country revealed the true character of PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, “as public enemy number one.”

The statement read in part, “Nigerians will recall that since the Central Bank introduced its current cash-limit and new Naira notes swap policies, Atiku Abubakar and PDP maintained opportunistic silence with the hope they will benefit from the discomfort the policies will create for Nigerians and the resentment they will generate for the ruling APC.

“While Atiku and PDP were in bed with the saboteurs and fifth columnists among the operators of Money Deposit Banks and oil marketers who created the current logjam to force the outcome of the February 25 Presidential election in favour of the former vice-president, our candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, courageously pitched his tent with the poor masses who have been most negatively impacted by the antics of these evil doers.

“Having realised that they have lost the initiative and their antics exposed to Nigerians by Asiwaju Tinubu at the APC Presidential Campaign rally in Abeokuta, Atiku made a half-hearted appeal to CBN to ‘slightly’ extend the deadline for the currency swap.

The ruling party described as “fire brigade” the bank’s latest approach in approving the payment of N20,000 at the counter, adding that such a move “is far from offering relief as queues are still long, agony and frustrations widening, an invitation to riots.”

“This poorly implemented policy has turned Nigerians to destitute because they cannot access their own money in their bank accounts. People cannot get money to give their kids to school or pay for daily needs at corner shops, fruit shops, including buying newspapers. Transactions in market places have plummeted.”

It added that, “We are currently at a loss to understand what informed the current call of Atiku on CBN not to extend the February 10 deadline despite the unmitigated hardship still being faced by many Nigerians who could not meet their basic daily needs as a result of lack of cash from banks and the empty ATM machines.”

“This poorly implemented policy has turned Nigerians to destitute because they cannot access their own money in their bank accounts. People cannot get money to give their kids to school or pay for daily needs at corner shops, fruit shops, including buying newspapers. Transactions in market places have plummeted.

“We thus find it ludicrous that a man who joined the call for an extension of the deadline last week is championing a new campaign against further extension because he feels the suffering of Nigerians will serve his own political ends to become president at all cost.”

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