The Federal Government on Thursday said the current hardship experienced by citizens due to the introduction of the new naira notes by the Central Bank is a necessary price for the long-term health of the economy.
Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Zainab Ahmed, who stated this when she appeared as the 65th guest on the Ministerial Briefing, organized by the Presidential Communication Team, at the State House in Abuja, also said President Muhammadu Buhari is not happy about the situation.
According to Ahmed, the current hardships, though temporal, are required to stifle corruption and gradually transition into a cashless economy.
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“We are worried. We are not happy that citizens have to queue and struggle at ATMs to be able to get their cash. But this is a temporary situation.
“Let me just give you an analogy. If you have a wound, for you to be able to heal that wound, you need to be dressed.
“And sometimes, when you go to the hospital, they put iodine on the wound and it is very painful. It is necessary to do that to be able to get the wound to heal.
“So, it’s not easy. Mr President is not happy that citizens are suffering. But we are convinced that it is something that needs to be done at this time and also the Central Bank has been responsive in terms of providing some extension and also further explanation that comes to the closing date, it is not all over.”
She further noted that with over 75 per cent of the circulating N2.7 trillion already in the banks, the policy has yielded positive results.
“The positive side of it is that there is a lot of currency that has been mopped up by this operation. And it means it has achieved a good level of success.
“But the only sore point is the pain that it has caused to citizens which is regrettable, but which is also very transient and temporary.”
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