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UPDATED: Though Nigerians are suffering, currency redesign achieving its aim – President Buhari

President Buhari
President Buhari


Although the currency redesign policy of the Nigerian government is causing ‘difficulties’ for Nigerians, it is achieving its aim, President Buhari said Thursday.

The Nigerian leader, in a national broadcast, said he was aware of the setbacks of the policy, including the scarcity of the new naira notes, but it was achieving its set goals.

“Notwithstanding the initial setbacks experienced, the evaluation and feedback mechanism set up has revealed that gains have emerged from the policy initiative,” he said.

Mr Buhari then listed what his government believes are the interim successes of the currency redesign policy.

“I have been reliably informed that since the commencement of this program, about N2.1 trillion out of the banknotes previously held outside the banking system, had been successfully retrieved,” he said.

The president noted that this represents about 80 per cent of the N3.23 trillion currency in circulation outside the banking industry as of October 2022. Mr Buhari said there is a need to restore the statutory ability of the CBN to keep firm control over the money in circulation. He recalled that the proportion of currency outside banks grew from 78 per cent in 2015 to 85 per cent in 2022.

“As of October 2022, therefore, currency in circulation had risen to N3.23 trillion; out of which only N500 billion was within the Banking System while N2.7 trillion remained permanently outside the system; thereby distorting the financial policy and efficient management of inflation,” he said.

The huge volume of Bank Notes outside the banking system has proven to be practically unavailable for economic activities and by implication, retard the attainment of potential economic growth, the president added.

Free, Fair Election

The president also argued that the new naira policy is a strong foundation to ensure free and fair elections.

“I am aware that this new monetary policy has also contributed immensely to the minimization of the influence of money in politics,” he noted.

“The new naira policy is a positive departure from the past and represents a bold legacy step by this administration, towards laying a strong foundation for free and fair elections.”

The 2023 presidential elections will be held later this month on 25 February.

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