The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says its January 31, 2023 deadline for the validity of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes remains.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele announced this after the apex bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.
The CBN also raised the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), which measures interest rate, to 17.5 percent.
According to him, kidnapping and ransom-taking have reduced since the three banknotes were redesigned.
He also said the time given for the swap of the old naira notes with new ones were enough for Nigerians to go to commercial banks and get new notes.
The CBN governor said, “I must say here that unfortunately, I don’t have good news for those who feel that we should shift the deadline. My apologies. The reason is because just like the President has said more than two occasions and even to people privately, that for us, 90 days, in fact, we feel it is 100 days, that it is enough for anyone who has money or the old currency to deposit it in the bank. And we took every measure to ensure all the banks remain open to receive all old currencies.
“100 days we believe is more than adequate. We called on the banks, not only are we requesting you to extend your banking hours so that you can receive old currencies, but we are also asking you to keep your doors open on Saturdays, ladies and gentlemen, the banks did not even have any reasons to even keep their banking halls open on Saturdays neither did they see the kind of rush that they anticipated.
“We do not see any reason to begin to talk about a shift because people could not deposit their old monies into their banks.
“There is adequate quality of new notes available but let all know that it is a process of increasing, not producing. Our Mint is producing and we are supplying to the banks and so it will continue to circulate in the system.”
Emefiele also said he recently met with the Nigeria Governors’ Forum and Governors Inuwa Yahaya (Gombe) and Mai Mala Buni (Yobe) and he told them that there is no going back on the January 31 deadline.
He said the CBN has 1.4 million super agents nationwide to collect old naira notes in exchange for new notes in riverine and upland areas, saying “money is going down and is circulating to the lower rung of the community”.
“We have 1.4 million points of our super agents; those agents are going to be available to conduct cash exchanges. The super agents are like kiosks, shops in your community, whether it is a riverine or upland area, they are there, selling sweets, selling kola nuts but they have been appointed as agents that will do cash exchange and cash swap for you. This, we have put in place,” he said.
The CBN on October 26, 2022 had announced its plan to redesign the three banknotes. President Muhammadu Buhari subsequently unveiled the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 notes on November 23, 2022, while the apex bank fixed January 31 deadline for the validity of the old notes.
There have been concerns from many Nigerians over the slow spread of the three new naira notes as the January 31 2023 deadline approaches but the apex bank has insisted that the date stands.
The CBN also recently directed commercial banks to halt over-the-counter payment of the new notes and load their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) with the redesigned naira notes to boost circulation.
The apex bank also launched a cash swap programme nationwide to enable those in the unbanked areas to exchange their old notes for new notes before the deadline.
However, the House of Representatives, the Senate and the Nigeria Governors’ Forum have asked the CBN to extend the date to enable more Nigerians get the new notes.