President Muhammadu Buhari is unhappy about the cash scarcity in Nigeria. This is according to Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance.
Speaking at the 65th State House briefings coordinated by the Presidential Media Team, in Abuja, on Thursday, February 2, 2023, Ahmed also assured Nigerians that the cash scarcity issue is temporary.
While assuring Nigerians to stay calm, the Minister compared the current state of affairs in Nigeria to a patient who has a deep sore or wound and must endure excruciating pain while receiving treatment.
Ahmed, therefore, claimed that the government was satisfied that a sizable amount of old money has been reinjected into the banking system, allowing the regulatory bodies to regain control of the country’s currency.
In response to questions about the impact of the redesign policy on the financial sector, Ahmed said, “Of course we are worried, we are not happy that citizens have to queue and struggle to get their cash but this is a temporary situation.
“Let me give you an analogy, this situation can be compared to a patient having a sore and while treating the sore, you must apply some iodine or spirit which is usually very painful.
“Mr President is not happy that citizens are suffering but come to the closing date which the Central Bank of Nigeria has given, it will not all be over as a window still exists for people to return their old notes.
“There is also the positive side to it, which is that a lot of currency has been mopped up back into the system.”
Meanwhile, the apex bank had reversed itself and directed banks to commence paying customers new Naira notes Over The Counter (OTC).
The apex bank said the order was to reduce queues around Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) across the country.
CBN Governor Godiwn Emefiele gave the directive in Abuja on Thursday.
A statement from CBN’s Director of Corporate Communication Osita Nwanisobi explained banks can only pay N20,000 of the new notes over the counter per day to individuals.