President Muhammadu Buhari has backed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to phase out the current 200, 500, and 1000 naira notes by Tuesday, January 31.
The Presidency in a statement said Buhari insisted that the deadline is “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.”Buhari’s stance opposes that of former vice president Atiku Abubakar, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Bola Tinubu, and many Nigerians who complained that the new notes are not in circulation.
Kano State governor Abdullahi Ganduje for the same reason told President Muhammadu Buhari to postpone his visit to the state as he is “deeply concerned” about the hardship it is causing locals.
“There are no banks in most of our rural communities. How would the people get the new Naira notes is of great concern. Just look at what is happening in our urban areas, people go and spend hours upon hours in banks,” Ganduje said.
Nigerian Senate during the plenary on Thursday urged the CBN to extend the deadline to July 31, citing fears that millions of Nigeria’s unbanked and rural dwellers may be hard done by if the initial date remains.
The Presidency, however, said Buhari notes the public complaints but assured that there will be no disruption in business and other supply chains of the economy as the deadline will remain.
“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 gave strong assurances that the government will not leave them to their own fate.
“He reiterated that a number of initiatives by Central Bank of Nigeria 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.”