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Naira scarcity: Bear with FG, CBN, Peter Obi pleads with Nigerians

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The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Mr Peter Obi, has urged Nigerians to bear with the Federal Government and the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over the redesigned naira notes.

Following the introduction of the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes by the apex bank, Nigerians have continued to experience nationwide scarcity of the naira.

But taking to his Twitter handle on Sunday, Obi called for patience, saying he hopes the masses will harvest the gains that will come with the reforms.

He stated that currency redesign is not peculiar to Nigeria, adding that the policy comes with some pains but has benefits in the long-term.

“The currency redesign is not peculiar to Nigeria. It is an exercise that comes with some inconvenience and pain but it has significant long term economic and social benefits. Even though there are improvements that can be made,” he tweeted.

“I urge Nigerians to bear with the CBN and Federal Government with the hope that the general populace and Nigeria will harvest the gains that will come with the reforms.

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“We equally implore the CBN and the banks to expedite efforts to make the new currency available to small depositors and the unbanked in order to reduce the pains of my fellow Nigerians, especially the underprivileged and those living far away from banks in the rural areas.”

‘No Extension On Deadline’
Amid the calls for an extension, the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele has insisted that the apex bank will not extend the deadline for swapping old naira notes with the newly redesigned ones.

Emefiele who briefed journalists on Friday at the CBN office in Lagos, said that the apex bank and other stakeholders are already looking addressing areas where there are pressures.

“I would say no. I am sure that people are going to say only last week I said no, but I want to say unfortunately again, this time we will not be looking at extension of deadline because we as the central bank, deposit money banks and other important stakeholders, we are looking at areas where there is pressure and we are doing everything possible to address those areas of pressure.

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“We have had cases where some bank branches have some cash in their vaults and because there was no demand for them and we asked central bank officials when reported to move those monies away and move them to areas where there is pressure. So those are some of the logistical challenges that we faced and we are doing everything possible to address them. So I am not going to make any promise to anyone that there would be any further extension of this deadline,” Emefiele said.

Emefiele also said that the apex bank acknowledged the pains Nigerians are facing in accessing the new naira notes.

According to the CBN governor, the apex bank will extend cash swaps to microfinance banks and engage 30,000 super agents in the hinterlands as part of new measures to accelerate the circulation of new naira notes.

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FG commences price enforcement in Abuja, targets Lagos, others

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The Federal Government on Thursday initiated sporadic enforcement raids at multiple supermarkets and markets within the Federal Capital Territory to ensure adherence to price display and quantity regulations, aiming to reduce the cost of food commodities nationwide.

It also said it would continue unannounced inspections at super and open markets in Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kaduna, and Ibadan in the coming weeks to probe the abnormal price surges and take firm measures against any companies caught engaging in unfair market practices like price manipulation, excessive pricing, or cartel formation.

The Executive Secretary of The Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission, Dr. Adamu Abdullahi, said this when he conducted an enforcement exercise to eliminate grocery store price gouging and illegal pricing schemes.

During the exercise that lasted several hours, the FCCPC sealed 4U Supermarket and evacuated 33 bags of fake stallion and caprice rice filled with weevils from one of the branches of the same supermarket located at 58 Adetokunbo Ademola Crescent, Wuse II.

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Earlier on Wednesday, the commission had ordered its operatives to intensify monitoring of both formal and informal markets to identify businesses engaged in unnecessary inflation of prices for required enforcement action.

 

This move is a direct response to concerns raised by consumers about the rising costs of goods, which go against the recent strengthening of the naira.

Food inflation has been a recurring issue influencing the steady increase of Nigeria’s headline inflation of 33.2 per cent, recording an unprecedented food inflation rate of 40 per cent in March 2024.

 

It was exacerbated by the extensive fall of the naira against the dollar in January and February leading to the soaring prices of essential goods and services, raising the costs of living costs to an all-time high.

Although the presidency had vowed to continue its campaign against racketeers, urging Nigerians to expect a stronger naira, a significant drop in the prices of essential commodities was elusive.

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The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Ajuri Ngelale, said that the president had directed consumer protection agencies to ensure that the local prices reflect the rising value of the naira.

“But there is still much work to be done and this is not a time for celebration. It is a time for doubling down and working harder to ensure that inflation is sustainably brought down in short order.

 

“Consumer protecting regulatory agencies must step up enforcement to ensure that our people are not short-changed by enterprises that fail to reflect the prevailing exchange rates on the pricing of goods and services across the board.

 

“As our private and publicly-owned refineries resume operations between now and the first quarter of 2025, the nation’s cash position will dramatically improve to the extent that Nigerians can rightly expect a stronger Naira and a fair reflection of its strength in the prices of commodities in the market place,” said Ngelale.

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The Presidency also assured Nigerians of the better days ahead saying the benefits of the reforms will be “more evident” as the administration progresses.

 

“Once you join the rising spending power of Africa’s largest population with the historic availability of trillions of naira for consumer credit that will bolster the real sector, you will see why Nigerians will be most pleased that they elected a financial engineer and businessman as president by the end of his first term in office, even as the signs are increasingly more evident today,” the Presidential spokesman stated.

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BREAKING: EFCC declares Yahaya Bello wanted

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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has declared Yahaya Bello, former governor of Kogi state, wanted over alleged N80 billion financial crimes.

 

“Anybody with information as to his whereabout should report immediately to the Commission or the nearest Police Station,” the commission said.

Details later…

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BREAKING: Protesters besiege PDP secretariat, demand Wike’s suspension

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The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Reform Vanguard, on Thursday, besieged the party’s secretariat in Abuja to demand the suspension of Nyesom Wike, minister of the federal capital territory (FCT).

 

The group also called for the resignation of Umar Damagun as acting national chair of the PDP.

 

The group arrived the headquarters ahead of the scheduled national executive council (NEC) meeting of the PDP, while demanding that Wike should be suspended for alleged anti-party activities.

 

Speaking with reporters, Usman Seidu, convener of the group, said Damagun and Wike have “undermined our collective efforts and jeopardised our very existence as a formidable opposition force”.

 

“We commend our former National Chairman Dr. Iyorchia Ayu for his demonstration of unwavering loyalty and love for our party by withdrawing all pending suits against the party in the court,” Seidu said.

 

“His actions have paved the way for our great party to move forward, to cleanse our ranks and restore integrity to our leadership.

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However, the presence of individuals like Amb. Iliya Damagun and Mr. Nyesom Wike within our midst remains a cancerous growth on the body of our party.

 

“Their actions, tantamount to betrayal, have undermined our collective efforts and jeopardised our very existence as a formidable opposition force.

 

“The time has come for the NEC to act decisively. Amb. Iliya Damagun must be removed from his position as acting national chairman, in accordance with the provisions of our party’s constitution.

 

“He must be replaced with a loyal member from the north-central, someone who embodies the spirit of our party and will work tirelessly for the advancement of its course.

 

“Furthermore, we cannot turn a blind eye to the continuous presence of Mr. Nyesom Wike within our ranks. His romance with the APC has been handsomely rewarded with his appointment as minister of the FCT and as such, his stay is a slap in the face of every loyal member of our party.

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“If the party fails to take decisive action against those who have betrayed our trust, then it risks losing the faith and support of it’s loyal members across the country.”

 

Wike attended the national caucus meeting of the PDP on Wednesday.

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