Acceptance of old naira notes after February 10th


Respite on the way as the Governor,Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN) announced that old Naira notes will still be accepted by banks after the Feb 10,2023 deadline.

Initially President Muhammadu  had approved extension of the ongoing currency swap by 10 days, moving the deadline from January 31, 2023 to February 10, 2023.

This was contained in a statement signed by Femi Adesina, Special Adviser to the President on Media & Publicity and made available to NewDirect on Sunday.

The President gave the approval at a meeting with the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, urging more time, discretion and order to enable Nigerians successfully change their currencies to the redesigned notes, and reduce the risk of loss, especially among the underserved in rural areas.

However, the appearance of Emefiele at the House of Representatives yesterday provided opportunity for softening of the deadline as Emefiele announced fresh incentive.

Briefing journalists after the meeting, the CBN Governor said the currency swap had achieved more than 75 per cent success rate of the N2.7 trillion held outside the banking system, with evident drop in rate of inflation, more stability of foreign exchange rates, and noticeable impact on security, especially in banditry and kidnapping figures.

The CBN Governor noted that redesign were supposed to be every five to eight years.

“Our aim is mainly to make Monetary Policy Decisions more efficacious and as you can see; we have started to see inflation trending downwards and exchange rates relatively stable.

“Secondly, we aim to support the effort of our security agencies in combating banditry and ransom taking in Nigeria through this programme and we see that the military are making good progress in this important task,” he added.

He said N2.7 trillion was held permanently in people’s homes.

“Ordinarily, when CBN released currency into circulation, it is meant to be used and after effluxion of time, it returns to the CBN thereby keeping the volume of currency in circulation under the firm control of the CBN.

“So far and since commencement of this programme, we have collected about N1.9 trillion; leaving us with about N900 billion (N500 billion + N1.9 trillion),’’ the CBN Governor said.

According to Emefiele, to achieve effective distribution of the new currency, the CBN has taken some steps.

He said several meetings were held with Deposit Money Banks and they were provided with Guidance Notes on processes they must adopt in the collection of old notes and distribution of the New Notes, including directives that new notes should be loaded in ATMs nationwide for equitable and transparent mechanism.

To ensure compliance, Emefiele said staff members, mostly Assistant Directors, Deputy Directors and Directors in Abuja were sent to all CBN branches nationwide to join the mass mobilization campaign and monitoring programmes.

He said breaches of the programme had been reported to the EFCC and ICPC for further action.

“Aside from those holding illicit/stolen naira in their homes for speculative purposes, we do aim to give all Nigerians that have naira legitimately earned and trapped, the opportunity to deposit their legitimately trapped monies at the CBN for exchange,” he stated.

“I don’t understand the relationship between the CBN policy and security challenges in Kano State,” he added.

He noted that all new currencies had security features that make it easy for tracking to bank branches, and the process had begun to deal with defaulters and those who breached the programme.

The extension has further exposed the power of the people in a democratic government. Hence, acceptance of the people’s wish will enable Nigerians with more old notes to swap them.

It is also very significant particularly for agencies that are rutheless in the implantation of government’s policies. It will also promote ease of doing business which had come under attack.

The  review of the deadline should serve as a good example for leaders in government. Meanwhile, the people affected by the extension of new Naira notes  should not take the soft approach of CBN as excuse but should double their effort to swap old notes.