As the cash crisis bedevilling the country lingers, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revealed why it has been unable to print sufficient new naira notes to meet the growing demand of Nigerians.
This is coming on the heels of expectations of Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari would resolve the matter in seven days as promised, but the Governor of the CBN has said the apex bank does not have the capacity to print adequate new naira notes.
Emefiele made the disclosure yesterday when he briefed the emergency meeting of the National Council of State, sources who attended the meeting told News Diet.
On Friday, Mr Emefiele 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.
“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,” a source told PREMIUM TIMES.
Meanwhile, Mr Buhari was non-committal at the meeting and barely spoke, the source added. He left the meeting as the time for the Muslim’s Jummah prayer drew close and his deputy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, took over.
Last December, the Godwin Emefiele-led 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 a hard time 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.