Nigeria’s Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, has faulted the implementation of the currency redesign policy of the federal government and lamented the hardship it has caused residents of the West African country.
Mr Osinbajo expressed his view in Abuja at a meeting with players in the financial technology (FinTech) space, his spokesperson, Laolu Akande, said in a statement obtained on Saturday
“You need cash to pay for transport. For instance, in Abuja how do you take ‘drop or along’ or use a Keke NAPEP without cash, or buy foodstuff on the road or in canteens, or even buying recharge cards?
“Parents with kids in public schools give money daily to their children for lunch, most commerce is informal, so you need cash for most things,” Mr Osinbajo was quoted as saying.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, with the permission of President Muhammadu Buhari, announced the new policy last October. The central bank announced that the three highest denominations of the naira – N200, N500 and N1,000 – would be redesigned and the old notes would no longer be accepted as legal tender by 31 January.
However, the scarcity of the new notes led to the postponement of the deadline to 10 February. The scarcity has persisted with citizens spending hours in queues at banks and ATMS to access the new notes.
On Friday, President Muhammadu Buhari told governors elected on his party’s platform that he was aware of the suffering the policy had caused and would review the situation if the problems persisted by the end of the new deadline,
In his statement, Mr Akande said the vice president made reference to President Buhari’s remarks as an indication the policy would be reviewed.
Worried by the difficulty experienced by Nigerians in getting the new naira notes, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo today met with some players in the FinTech space, exploring possible ways of mitigating the hardship.
Specifically, he urged regulators and the banks to deploy more FinTechs and money agents to the hinterlands to address the worrying situation.
According to the VP “you need cash to pay for transport. For instance, in Abuja how do you take ‘drop or along’ or use a Keke NAPEP without cash, or buy foodstuff on the road or in canteens, or even buying recharge cards?