President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday directed Nigeria’s central financial institution to reissue outdated 200-naira ($0.43) banknotes withdrawn simply days in the past as issues develop that the botched introduction of recent cash may disrupt normal elections later this month.
Violent protests have erupted in latest weeks as tens of millions of individuals struggled to get their palms on new, redesigned variations of the 200-, 500-, and 1,000-naira notes that had been canceled on February 10, regardless of a Supreme Courtroom ruling two days beforehand that the deliberate foreign money swap needs to be suspended.
Now, Nigeria’s Unbiased Nationwide Electoral Fee (INEC) has reportedly warned that the shortcoming of banks to distribute sufficient of the brand new money may make it troublesome to pay momentary employees and safety guards wanted to function 1000’s of polling stations for presidential and parliamentary elections on Feb. 25. CNN has contacted the INEC for remark.
Buhari unveiled the redesigned foreign money in November final yr with the purpose of reining in counterfeiting and the hoarding of enormous sums of cash exterior the banking system.
However in scenes harking back to the chaos unleashed in India when it tried to swap its two largest banknotes in 2016, many Nigerians have been spending hours in lengthy traces at cashpoints in a determined bid to get sufficient money to fulfill their every day bills.
That scarcity has led to frayed tempers and hardship, notably those that work within the cash-based casual economic system and for residents who stay in rural areas. Protests are spreading throughout the nation and financial institution branches have been broken.
In a televised broadcast Thursday, Buhari expressed sympathy for Nigerians experiencing hardship and introduced that the outdated 200- naira notice will return to circulation for 60 days. The upper denomination notes stay canceled however may be exchanged on the central financial institution and different designated factors, he mentioned.
He additionally assured Nigerians that the availability of money would enhance within the coming days. Buhari mentioned he has directed the central financial institution to “make sure that new notes change into extra accessible and accessible to our residents by way of the banks.”
Final month, the central financial institution mentioned that of three.23 trillion Nigerian naira ($6.9 billion) in circulation as of October final yr, “solely 500 billion naira was inside the banking business” whereas a whopping 2.7 trillion naira ($5.8 billion) was “held completely in individuals’s houses.”
In his tackle Thursday, Buhari disclosed that round 80% of these funds has been returned to the banks because the unveiling of the brand new banknotes in November.
“I’ve been reliably knowledgeable that because the graduation of this program, about 2.1 trillion naira ($4.5 billion) out of the banknotes beforehand held exterior the banking system, had been efficiently retrieved,” he mentioned.