IMF urges CBN to extend naira swap deadline as scarcity bites
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) on Wednesday urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the February 10 deadline set for the swap of old high value naira notes if the hiccups in getting the new notes persist.
“In light of hardships caused by disruptions to trade and payments due to the shortage of new bank notes available to the public, in spite of measures introduced by the CBN to mitigate the challenges in the banknote swap process, the IMF encourages the CBN to consider extending the deadline, should problems persist in the next few days leading up to the February 10, 2023 deadline,” IMF Resident Representative to Nigeria, Ari Aisen, said in statement issued on his behalf by Laraba S. Bonnet, Office Manager for Resident Representation for Nigeria.
The CBN extended the deadline for the expiration of higher denomination notes from N200 to N1000 to February 10 after long queues at banks swelled and commercial activities across the country were adversely affected. For one, manufacturers say they expect a 25 percent drop in sales partly due to the naira scarcity.
The country of 200 million people is still mired in a cash crisis that has denied several Nigerians of cash with some economists estimating first quarter GDP to take a hit as a result.
Read also: Supreme Court stops CBN from implementing February 10 deadline on naira swap
It looks increasingly unlikely that the February 10 deadline for swapping of old to new naira notes will stand after the country’s top court, the Supreme Court, on Wednesday ordered its suspension.
The Supreme Court issued an interim injunction restraining the Federal Government from suspending the acceptance of the old Naira notes on the deadline.