President Muhammadu Buhari says the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) assured him that there was “capacity, manpower and equipment” to print enough new naira
He said the assurance was given to him before he considered giving approval for the naira redesign policy.
The president spoke on Friday after meeting with governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the matter.
There has been increased tension in the country as Nigerians struggle to obtain cash at banks and point-of-sale terminals.
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.
However, several stakeholders have said the number of days is insufficient to guarantee the widespread circulation of the new notes.
Speaking on Friday, the president said 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”.
The president said that given the present situation, he will “go back to find out what was actually happening”.
Buhari also expressed doubts about the commitment of banks to the success of the policy, describing them as “inefficient”.
“Some banks are inefficient and only concerned about themselves, even if a year is added, problems associated with selfishness and greed won’t go away,” he said.
The APC governors had earlier appealed to the president to allow both the old and new naira notes to co-exist to ease the suffering of Nigerians.
Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna state, said although the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) mopped up over N2 trillion of the old notes in circulation, only N300 billion worth of new notes were printed.