The Nigerian minister of finance, budget and national planning, Zainab Ahmed, has talked about the hardships caused by the new naira design, She says President Muhammadu Buhari is unhappy about the hardship faced by citizens due to the naira redesign policy.
The minister spoke at a media briefing organised by the presidential communications team in Abuja on Thursday. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had given a deadline of January 31 for the use of old notes — but it was recently extended to February 10.
Despite the extension, Nigerians are still battling with lengthy queues at banking halls and automated teller machines (ATMs) amid the scarcity of new naira notes. Describing the situation as “temporary and transient”, Ahmed said it was a necessary price to pay for the nation’s economy to burgeon.
“We are not happy that citizens have to queue and struggle at ATMs to be able to get their cash. But this is a temporary situation,” the minister said. “Let me just give you an analogy. If you have a wound, for you to be able to heal that wound, you need to be dressed. “And sometimes, when you go to the hospital, they put iodine on the wound and it is very painful. It is necessary to do that to be able to get the wound to heal.
“So, it’s not easy. Mr. President is not happy that citizens are suffering. “But we are convinced that it is something that needs to be done at this time and also the Central Bank has been responsive in terms of providing some extension and also further explanation that it is not all over. “There is still opportunity for citizens as provided for in the CBN Act, Section 20 subsection 3 to actually take the old currency to the central bank for redemption.”
Ahmed said the naira redesign policy would help to combat corruption. She added that it has had some positive effects with the massive mop-up of cash outside the banking system.