In a series of tweets on his Twitter page on Sunday, the former Anambra State governor said despite the challenges associated with the policy, it had long-term gains.
“The currency redesign is not peculiar to Nigeria. It is an exercise that comes with some inconvenience and pain, but it has significant long-term economic and social benefits even though there are improvements that can be made.
“I urge Nigerians to bear with the CBN and Federal Government with the hope that the general populace and Nigeria will harvest the gains that will come with the reforms,” Obi stated.
He appealed to the CBN and the banks to expedite efforts to make the new currency available to small depositors and those who do not use the banks to reduce the pains the people in the country go through, especially those living far away from banks in the rural areas.
The ICIR reported how people in the country besieged banks because they could not get money.
The CBN introduced the new N200, N500 and N1000 notes on December 15, 2022, and initially announced that the old notes would cease to be legal tender from January 31, 2023.
Following pleas and protests from Nigerians, the apex bank extended the deadline by two weeks and said people with the old notes could take them to the bank to exchange for new ones, or save them after the deadline.
Despite the deadline extension, the currency swap has caused multi-dimensional harm to businesses, households and individuals.
Many banks could only issue one N1000 at their counters, while some were giving out bundles of N5 notes.
Many ATMs had no cash in them, while people queued for hours with the hope they would get some money.
Point-of-sale (POS) operators have been collecting commissions as high as ten-fold what they used to charge their customers on cash transactions.