From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed, yesterday, said President Muhammadu Buhari is not happy over the difficulties citizens are facing in getting the new Naira notes.

Ahmed who fielded questions from journalists  while featuring in the 65th edition of State House briefing in Abuja, however described the hardship faced in accessing the new naira notes as   temporary.

Buhari had on January 29 approved the extension of the currency swap by 10 days, moving the deadline from January 31 to February 10.

The minister said the president was unhappy with the situation where citizens find it difficult finding the new notes for their daily use. She, however, likened what was going on as wound that needs to be dressed. 

She maintained that the harsh realities faced by citizens over the currency swap was temporary but a necessary price to pay for the nations economy to burgeon. 

Ahmed said the policy was necessary and appropriate at the moment to combat corruption, adding that it had yielded positive effects with massive mop up of funds outside the banking system.

She said: “Of course, we are worried; we are not that happy that citizens have to queue and struggle at bank ATM to be able to get their cash but this is a temporary solution. Let me just give you an analogy; if you have a wound, for you to be  able to heal that wound, it needs to be dressed; sometimes, when you go to the hospital, they put iodine and it is very painful but it is necessary for that to get the wound to heal. So, it is not easy and the president is not happy that the citizens are really suffering; but we are convinced that it is something that needs to be done this time.’’

She said the CBN has been responsive in terms of providing some extension.

The minister  said the apex bank had also given further explanation that that there was still opportunity for citizens after the closing date as provided for in the CBN Act Section 20 subsection 3 to redeem their old notes.

“There is still opportunity for citizens to actually take their old currency to the CBN for redemption; so it is not all over. But 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. The pain it has caused the citizens is regrettable but it is also very transient and the bank is continuing to address it,’’ she said.

Ahmed said that in 2021, the performance of the ministry on its 39 deliverables was 70 per cent.

According to her, 723 MDAs have been enrolled into the IPPIS including educational, security agencies and the Nigerian Police.

Ahmed disclosed that as at November 2022, aggregate Federal Government revenue was N6.5 trillion representing 67.8 per cent of the target set in the budget for 2022.