The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) Mr, Peter Obi has appealed to banks to expedite action to reduce the pains and discomfort small depositors and the unbanked are currently going through.
In a statement issued on Sunday in Abuja by the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council’s media team, Obi threw his weight behind the currency redesign, saying that the exercise has long-term economic benefits.
“Even though there are improvements that can be made, I urge Nigerians to bear with the CBN and the Federal Government with the hope that Nigeria will harvest the gains that will come with the reforms,’’ he said.
According to Obi, the currency redesign is not peculiar to Nigeria. It is an exercise that comes with some inconveniences and pains but it has significant long-term economic and social benefits.
Obi urged the CBN and banks to expedite action to make the new naira available to small depositors and the unbanked to reduce the pains Nigerians, particularly those in the rural areas, are going through
Obi, who spoke on Arise News Channel on Sunday, noted that currency redesign was not peculiar to Nigeria and that it has long-term economic and societal benefit but with a short time inconveniences and pain.
While calling on people of Nigeria to cooperate with the federal government and the CBN in addressing difficulties that come with the exercise, he called on the apex bank and other commercial banks to expedite action to make the new notes available to the various classes of the society, especially the masses and the unbanked.
Speaking further, the presidential candidate stated that there was nowhere the exercise would take place that would not come with some hitches.
He cited the example of India when the Asian country embarked on similar currency redesign and how Indians encountered difficulties during the process, which according to Obi later yielded a bountiful long term economic advantage for the people and their country.
“Currency redesign is not peculiar to Nigeria. This is an exercise that has long-term economic and social benefits, but comes with short-term inconveniences and pain. My appeal to Nigerians is that we should have patience with the federal government and the CBN, while at same time appealing to the CBN and the banks to expedite actions that would ensure that these new currencies are available to small depositors, small businesses, the unbanked and people in rural areas.
“I believe the CBN can make it available as quickly as possible. Everywhere there have been redesign of currency in a third world country, it comes with challenges and in some instance riots.
“Look at what happened in India, there were riots. But today, India is better off and their economy benefitted better. This policy was announced on 26th of October, 2022 and they gave extra 10 days and all of a sudden people are rioting and behaving as if it came overnight.
“For me, it is the poor people I see on the queues that we should quickly deal with as quickly as possible and I urge the CBN to deal with the issue of the low depositors and those who live in rural and unbanked areas. It is critical and it is important. I am also urging Nigerians to bear with them. We have redesigned our currencies, we can’t do anything about it. Government has taken a decision and we can’t be using two currencies at same time. So, the decision has been taken, let’s run with it.”