N2.1trn hoarded banknotes have been retrieved – Buhari begs Nigerians to bear pains of Naira scarcity, lists gains

President Muhammadu Buhari has revealed the amount of naira his administration has retrieved since the commencement of the naira redesign policy by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) as he begged Nigerians to bear with the pain occasioned by the policy.

According to Buhari, about N2.1 trillion out of the banknotes initially held outside the banking system had been successfully retrieved since the start of the CBN’s cash policy.

The President stated this on Thursday morning, February 16, 2023, during a nationwide broadcast to Nigerians.

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“Fellow citizens, while I seek your understanding and patience during this transient phase of implementation, I feel obliged to avail you a few critical points underpinning the policy decision.

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

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“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.

“This represents about 80% of such funds. In the short to medium and long terms, therefore, it is expected that there would be a strengthening of our macroeconomic parameters, reduction of broad money supply leading to a deceleration of the velocity of money in the economy which should result in less pressures on domestic prices, lowering of Inflation as a result of the accompanying decline in money supply that will slow the pace of inflation, collapse of Illegal Economic Activities which would help to stem corruption and acquisition of money through illegal ways”, the President explained.

President Buhari listed other gains of the new policy to include exchange Rate stability, availability of easy loans and lowering of interest rates as well as greater visibility and transparency “of our financial actions translating to efficient enforcement of our anti- money laundering legislations.”

He, however, noted with dismay, the sharp practices embarked upon by some bank officials, thus frustrating the policy, saying that they will not go unpunished.

“I am not unaware of the obstacles placed on the path of innocent Nigerians by unscrupulous officials in the banking industry, entrusted with the process of implementation of the new monetary policy. I am deeply pained and sincerely sympathise with you all, over these unintended outcomes.

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“To stem this tide, I have directed the CBN to deploy all legitimate resources and legal means to ensure that our citizens are adequately educated on the policy; enjoy easy access to cash withdrawal through availability of appropriate amounts of currency; and ability to make deposits.

“I have similarly directed that the CBN should intensify collaboration with anti-corruption agencies, so as to ensure that any institution or person(s) found to have impeded or sabotaged the implementation should be made to bear the full weight of the law

“I wish to once more appeal for your understanding till we overcome this difficult transient phase within the shortest possible time”, he said.

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