EconomyMoneyNewsNigeriaCurrency Swap: Buhari Expresses Concern As Nigerians Queue in Banks, Finance Minister Reveals

Hajia Zaniab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget, and National Planning, has revealed that  President, Muhammadu Buhari is concerned about the pain Nigerians are going through in accessing the redesigned naira notes.

Ahmed disclosed this on Thursday when she was featured at the 65th State House briefing organized by the Presidential Media Team and likened the current situation experienced by Nigerians to a patient having a wound or deep sore, but must submit to excruciating pain while undergoing treatments, and quickly added that suffering is temporary and will drizzle out very soon.

However, she noted that government is pleased that sizeable old funds have been mopped back into the banking system, which would, in turn, give the regulatory agencies control over the nation’s currencies.

The report had it that a visit to most banks’ Automatic Teller Machines (ATMs) in the Abuja metropolis depicts long queues of people trying to access their money with little or no success.

While there are trending videos on social media showing frustrated customers having difficulties accessing their money.

But Ahmed in her response to the question posed to her, as to whether the government is actually worried about the development in the financial sector, said,” of course we are worried, we are not happy that citizens have to queue and struggle to get their cash but this is a temporary situation.

“Let me give you an analogy, this situation can be compared to a patient having a sore and while treating the sore, you must apply some iodine or spirit which is usually very painful.

She added, “Mr President is not happy that citizens are suffering but come to the closing date which the Central Bank of Nigeria has given, it will not all be over as a window still exist for people to return their old notes.

“There is also the positive side to it, which is that a lot of currency has been mopped up back into the system”

Meanwhile, Ahmed expressed shock over the negative rating slammed on nine banks in Nigeria.

Recall that the latest Moody’s report on Nigeria downgraded the long-term issuer rating of the Government of Nigeria to Caa1 from B3, and changed the outlook to stable, on January 27th, 2023.

Ahmed said it came as a surprise to her despite the fact that her ministry had presented all of the work they have been doing in stabilizing the economy.

“Let me say that Moody’s report or downgrade came as a surprise to us.

She added, “But it is an external rating agency that doesn’t have the real understanding of what has happened in the domestic environment.”

It has been reported that the international rating agency, Moody’s Investors Service, downgraded nine Nigerian banks, following its downward review of Nigeria’s rating last week.

The affected banks include Access Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, United Bank for Africa Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Limited, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, First City Monument Bank Limited, and Sterling Bank Plc.

She admonished Nigerians to look forward to the S&P rating due for release in a few days, stressing that “ it is expected to present a better outlook for Nigeria”

By Uzoamaka Ikezue (Staff Reporter)

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