President Muhammadu Buhari on Saturday asserted that the ongoing currency changes are targeted at people hoarding illicit funds and not the common man, noting that it has become necessary to prevent counterfeits, corruption, and terrorist funding.
This is as he gave assurances that government will ensure that citizens are unharmed in their businesses and no disruption is caused to the entire supply chain arising from the currency swap due to end shortly.
According to a statement issued by Garba Shehu, Senior Special Assistant to the President (Media & Publicity), which gave this position, President Buhari similarly assured that the exercise will stabilize and strengthen the economy.
The President’s remarks were a reaction to reports of long queues of people waiting for hours for their turn to deposit old notes and get new ones, triggering public anger and opposition’s criticism.
The statement said 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 fate.
He reiterated that several initiatives by the Central Bank and all commercial banks are underway to speed up the distribution of the new notes and do all that is necessary to forestall cash squeeze and chaos.
Recall that the CBN had given January 31 as the deadline for the swapping of old notes for the redesigned ones.
With the deadline looming, most banks in the country remained open at the weekend to enable their customers to exchange their notes.