Amidst the cash crisis bedevilling the country and the expectations of Nigerians that President Muhammadu Buhari would resolve the matter in seven days as promised, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said the apex bank does not have the capacity to print adequate new naira notes.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said that it cannot print adequate naira notes to replace the old N200, N500 and 1,000 notes because the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc (The Mint) is suffering from capacity constraints.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, stated this on Friday when he briefed the emergency meeting of the National Council of State.
President Muhammadu Buhari convened the meeting to discuss issues of national importance among which is the threats posed by the shortage of naira.
There are reports of social disobedience at many banks, a development forcing banks to shut down across the country.
Protests have been recorded in some parts of the country, including in Ogun, Oyo and Akwa Ibom states.
Some state governors have since sued the federal government and the CBN.
The CBN had extended deadline by 10 days, which expired on Friday, February 10.
But the Supreme Court had restrained the Federal Government from enforcing the deadline of old naira notes and adjourned the case to February 15 for hearing.
However, the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, is challenging that interim ruling by the Supreme Court while the central bank has not spoken on the ruling, thereby leaving Nigerians confused.
A source told Premium Times that the Mint had received CBN’s request to print 70 million copies of the new notes, totalling N126 billion to be pumped into circulation by today, the source added, regrettingthat the request could not be met because “The Mint doesn’t have the capacity.”
“The Mint has run out of papers to print N500 and 1,000 notes,” a source said, explaining the supply constraints The Minit faces.
“They have placed orders with a German firm and De La Rue of the UK (for papers) but they have been placed on a long waiting list so their orders cannot be met now.”
Meanwhile, Mr Buhari was non-committal at the meeting and barely spoke, the source added. He left the meeting as the time for the Muslim’s Jummah prayer drew close and his deputy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, took over.
Osinbajo said the president would take a decision.