January 28, 2023

Buhari speaks on January 31 new naira deadline 

—Assures that govt ‘ll eliminate squeeze, chaos in currency swap 

By Johnbosco Agbakwuru, Abuja 

Amidst the lamentations and criticisms trailing the January 31 deadline given by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, in the naira redesign, President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that the government will eliminate any form of hardship or chaos that may arise from implementation of the policy.

Recall that CBN has given January 31 as the last date for the old N200, N500 and N1000 will be recognized as a legal tender as the apex bank has redesigned new notes of the same denomination.

The policy has generated mixed reactions as some people have contended that the deadline was too short even though the CBN had given 90 days for citizens to deposit the old notes in banks. 

Concerned by the worries expressed by some Nigerians, 

President Buhari, Saturday assured that government will ensure that citizens are not  harmed in their businesses and that no disruption is caused to the entire supply chain arising from the currency swap due to end shortly.

Reacting to reports of long queues of people waiting for hours for their turn to deposit old notes and get new ones, triggering public anger and opposition’s criticism, the President reiterated that the currency changes were aimed at people hoarding illicit funds and not the common man, and that it had become necessary to prevent counterfeits, corruption, and terrorist funding. 

This, he assured, will stabilize and strengthen the economy.

While taking note that the poorest section of society is facing hardship as they often keep hard cash at home for various expenses, 

President Buhari in a statement issued by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Shehu Garba, gave strong assurances that the government will not leave them to their own fate.

He reiterated that a number of initiatives by the Central Bank and all commercial banks are underway to speed up distribution of the new notes and do all that is necessary to forestall cash squeeze and chaos.