The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, has urged Nigerians to bear with the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the redesigned naira notes.
Following the introduction of the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes by the apex bank, Nigerians have continued to experience nationwide scarcity of the naira.
But taking to his Twitter handle on Sunday, Obi called for patience, saying he hopes the masses will harvest the gains that will come with the reforms.
He stated that currency redesign is not peculiar to Nigeria, adding that the policy comes with some pains but has benefits in the long-term.
“The currency redesign is not peculiar to Nigeria. It is an exercise that comes with some inconvenience and pain but it has significant long term economic and social benefits. Even though there are improvements that can be made,” he tweeted.
“I urge Nigerians to bear with the CBN and Federal Government with the hope that the general populace and Nigeria will harvest the gains that will come with the reforms.
“We equally implore the CBN and the banks to expedite efforts to make the new currency available to small depositors and the unbanked in order to reduce the pains of my fellow Nigerians, especially the underprivileged and those living far away from banks in the rural areas.”
Amid the calls for an extension, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele has insisted that the apex bank will not extend the deadline for swapping old naira notes with the newly redesigned ones.
Emefiele who briefed journalists on Friday at the CBN office in Lagos, said that the apex bank and other stakeholders are already looking addressing areas where there are pressures.
“I would say no. I am sure that people are going to say only last week I said no, but I want to say unfortunately again, this time we will not be looking at extension of deadline because we as the central bank, deposit money banks and other important stakeholders, we are looking at areas where there is pressure and we are doing everything possible to address those areas of pressure.
“We have had cases where some bank branches have some cash in their vaults and because there was no demand for them and we asked central bank officials when reported to move those monies away and move them to areas where there is pressure. So those are some of the logistical challenges that we faced and we are doing everything possible to address them. So I am not going to make any promise to anyone that there would be any further extension of this deadline,” Emefiele said.
Emefiele also said that the apex bank acknowledged the pains Nigerians are facing in accessing the new naira notes.
According to the CBN governor, the apex bank will extend cash swaps to microfinance banks and engage 30,000 super agents in the hinterlands as part of new measures to accelerate the circulation of new naira notes.