The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele said the apex bank does not have the capacity to print adequate new naira notes.
Emefiele stated this while briefing the emergency meeting of the National Council of State on Friday.
According to sources, the CBN governor told the leaders that the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc (The Mint), suffers capacity constraints, resulting in the failure to print adequate new notes to replace the old N200, N500 and 1,000 notes.
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“The Mint has run out of papers to print N500 and 1,000 notes. They have placed orders with a German firm and De La Rue of the UK (for papers) but they have been placed on a long waiting list, so their orders cannot be met now.
“The Mint had received CBN’s request to print 70million copies of the new notes, totalling N126billion to be pumped into circulation by today (yesterday), The Mint doesn’t have the capacity.”
The source said Buhari was non-committal at the meeting and barely spoke, before leaving the meeting for the Muslim’s Jummah prayer.
But, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who took over, said the president would take a decision.
Meanwhile, seven days after President Muhammadu Buhari promised to address the cash crisis that hit the country following the naira redesign and old notes swap policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the new and old naira notes have remained elusive.
Recall that last December, the CBN introduced the new notes amid efforts to fight corruption, terrorism, counterfeiting and related crimes, with a January 31, 2023 deadline.
However, Nigerians have had difficulty getting the new notes amid scarcity and rising tension across the country, forcing the apex bank to extend the deadline by 10 days, which was due yesterday, February 10.
President Buhari had on February 3 implored Nigerians to give him seven days to resolve the cash crunch that has become a problem across the country from the policy of the CBN.
The president made the call while speaking to the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) who paid him a visit to seek solutions to the cash crunch, which they said was threatening the good records of the administration in transforming the economy.
In a statement by his spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, Buharinoted that he had seen television reports on cash shortages and hardship to local businesses and ordinary people and gave assurances that the balance of seven of the 10-day extension would be used to crack down on whatever stood in the way of its successful implementation.
There has been a flurry of suits at the Supreme Court by some state governors, challenging the apex bank’s policy over the hardship the policy has brought on the people.
The apex court had issued an order asking the CBN and the federal government not to go ahead with the implementation of the policy pending the determination of substantive suits before it.