BY Dyepkazah Shibayan
Babatunde Fashola, minister of works and housing, says the naira redesign policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) “is hurting Nigerians” and needs to be reviewed.
The apex bank has fixed February 10 as the new deadline for the swap of old naira notes.
It initially fixed January 31 as the deadline but many Nigerians have not been able to get the new N200, N500, and N1000 notes, prompting a scarcity.
Speaking with Morayo Afolabi-Brown, a talk show moderator, on Wednesday on Instagram Live, Fashola said Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was fighting for Nigerians when he expressed concern about the scarcity of the new notes.
“I feel sympathy for the Nigerian people and what they have had to go through. Sometimes policies play out like this in the process of implementation, sometimes it all ends well and sometimes it calls for reconsideration and review,” Fashola said.
“In spite of the fact the CBN has acted within the spirit and letters of its independence by law, it is important to remember that we serve the public and the public says it is hurting, it is important to take a step back and ask where it is hurting and how we can make it better. It must not be a matter of ego.
“All the credit must go to our candidate being one of the first strong voices, first voice out of the candidates to speak out in Abeokuta.
“Though some were quick to say he was fighting Buhari or he was fighting his own party but it is his nature as a fighter for people. Our candidate hasn’t said don’t change the naira but it is hurting people.
“So the implementation needs a relook.”
‘I WAS NOT TINUBU’S PUPPET’
The minister said he was never a puppet to Tinubu while he was the governor of Lagos but he consulted with him because “of his experience”.
“When I was governor I realized that someone sat in my chair for eight years, that person is still alive, that person has had time to reflect, that person would have made mistakes and I told myself if I wanted to succeed I shouldn’t learn from my own mistakes I should learn from his experience,” he said.