President Muhammadu Buhari has appealed to Nigerians to give him seven days to resolve the lingering cash crisis causing economic havocs and heating up the polity.
President Buhari, who blamed the escalating cash crisis on banks, doubted their commitment to the success of the policy.
Buhari said this on Friday at a meeting with members of the Progressive Governors Forum, the body of Governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress, in Abuja to seek solutions to the lingering cash crunch.
The Governors lamented that the issue was threatening the good records of the administration in transforming the economy.
Buhari, in statement signed by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, after the meeting, noted the cash crunch has become a problem across the country from the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria to change high value naira notes with new ones.
Buhari said the currency redesign 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,” the President said, adding: “Even if a year is added, problems associated with selfishness and greed won’t go away.”
He said he had seen television reports about cash shortages and hardship to local businesses and ordinary people, assuring that the balance of seven of the 10-day extension will be used to crackdown on whatever stood in the way of successful implementation.
He said: “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.”
On their own, the Governors told Buhari that his decision on the renewal of currency was good, but its execution had been botched and their constituents were becoming increasingly upset.
They 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 are 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 will 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 he needed to go back to find out what was actually happening.
Buhari told the Governors that, being closer to the people, he had heard their cries and will act in a way that there will be a solution.
The Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Ganduje, told journalists that their requests before the President were centred around the cash and petroleum products crises.
He said the PGF appealed to Buhari to allow the new and old naira notes to run concurrently until the old ones die out naturally.
Ganduje said: “Our request is for the deadline to be shifted.
“Not only has it shifted, but the old currency should go along with the new currency until the old currency dies a natural death, which is possible.
“He said he will look into that.”