President Muhammadu Buhari says he does not understand why Nigerians are complaining about the planned redesigning of naira notes.
Speaking Wednesday in London, the president said there was no going back on the plan despite criticisms.
“With this change of currency, I think there will be issues with a lot of money but time is being given from October to December,” Buhari said.
“Three months is enough for whatever money you have, to get it changed through a legal system. So I do not know why people are complaining. There is no going back.”
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had in October announced plans to redesign the 200, 500, and 1,000 naira notes.
Godwin Emefiele – the apex bank’s governor – said the redesign will come into effect from Thursday, Dec. 15, 2022, adding that existing notes would seize to be legal tender on Jan. 31, 2023.
It is worrisome that 85 percent of the currency in circulation is being hoarded by Nigerians, the CBN governor said.
Emefiele urged Nigerians to go to their banks to deposit their naira notes.
Deposit fee would be waived for transactions below N150,000, he said.
The redesigning of naira notes would help curb counterfeit notes and hamper ransom payment to terrorists and kidnappers.
But some Nigerians have kicked against the announcement with many arguing that the redesigning of the notes would only cost taxpayers huge sums of money and add no value to the standard of living of Nigerians.
Buhari countered by saying that the CBN convinced him that reduction in inflation rate, currency counterfeiting and excess cash in circulation are some of the economic benefits of redesigning the currency.
He added that he did not consider the period of three months for the change to the new notes as being short.
“People with illicit money buried under the soil will have a challenge with this but workers, businesses with legitimate incomes will face no difficulties at all,’’ the president said.