The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced Monday night that it had reversed the December deadline for the withdrawal of old naira notes from circulation, which means that the old designs of N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations will remain legal tender, alongside the new ones until they are gradual fade out of circulation.
The bank said it is also working with the relevant authorities to set aside the subsisting court ruling which instituted the December deadline.
“Thus, all banknotes issued by the CBN, by Section 20(5) of the CBN Act 2007, will continue to remain legal tender, ad infinitum, even beyond the initial December 31, 2023, deadline,” the CBN noted in a statement signed by Isa AbdulMumin, its Director of Corporate Communications on Tuesday.
The CBN said its latest decision is in line with international best practices and to forestall a repeat of earlier experiences.
The fresh announcement followed recent developments where bank customers had already started making panic withdrawals and stashing naira notes ahead of the earlier December deadline when old notes were supposed to be pushed out of circulation.
As such fears heightened, commercial banks have had to cut down cash withdrawal limits in fear of possible cash scarcity as December approaches.
“The Central Bank of Nigeria is working with the relevant authorities to vacate the subsisting court ruling on the same subject.
“Accordingly, all CBN branches across the country will continue to issue and accept all denominations of Nigerian banknotes, old and redesigned, to and from deposit money banks (DMBs).
“The general public is encouraged to continue to accept all Naira banknotes (old or redesigned) for day-to-day transactions and handle them with the utmost care to safeguard and protect their lifecycle.
“ Also, the general public is encouraged to embrace alternative modes of payment, e-channels, for day-to-day transactions,” the statement partly read.