With 26 days to the deadline given to Nigerians to deposit their old notes, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reiterated that there will be no extension.
In its Twitter handle, the CBN said there will be no timeline extension, “so are advised to ensure they deposit all the N200, N500 and N1,000 Banknotes in their possession before the deadline of January 31, 2023.”
The Nigerian Senate had called on the CBN to extend the deadline to phase out the old naira notes till June 30, 2023.
New naira remained scarce across the banking sector as the old notes ceases to be a legal tender in the next 26 days.
Investigation showed that lenders were still paying with old notes at a time they were supposed to be receiving old notes and paying with new naira.
More worrisome is the fact that some banks pay an average of N15, 000 as maximum amount of new naira a customer can withdraw and even force clients to register the withdrawn amount.
Responding to why the new naira is still scarce in the banks, Ayodeji Ebo, managing director/CBO, Optimus by Afrinvest, said, “I suspect the delay may be due to logistics as it takes a longer time for full replacement to happen.”
” I’m sure CBN will assess the situation at the end of this month and determine if to shift the cut off date,” he said.
The CBN ordered the printing of 500 million pieces of new naira notes in the first contract, which rolled out last week, December 15, 2022, Aisha Ahmad, CBN, deputy governor in charge of financial system stability, told House of Representatives hearing on implementation of CBN cashless policy and the new withdrawal limits, on December 22, 2022.
The CBN on October 26, 2022 announced that higher denominations of the Naira including N200, N500 and N1,000 would be redesigned and introduced into the economy from December 15, 2022 while commercial banks were directed to return existing denominations to the CBN.
The new naira became a legal tender on December 15, 2022, after it was unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 23, this year.
Since the roll out of the new naira, many Nigerians have expressed dislike of the designed currency as they have observed that new banknotes, which they described as ‘painted’, is actually cleaning off, in addition to it being counterfeited.
“It is not a design issue. But a quality issue,” said an entertainer, in his twitter handle.
Sharing his experience about the new naira, Jeffrey Asemota, a Lagos based self-employed said, “early this morning I got paid with the newly printed note, out of excitement I decided to buy a few things with the money. I went to a shop in town to buy something but it was rejected. The store keeper refused to accept the money for payment. I thank God I had the old note with me which I quickly used to pay her. She claimed that nobody accepted the notes from her when she used it to make purchases. My experience this morning was not funny at all. What if that was the only money left with me?”
However, to save Nigerians from fallen victims of fake Naira notes, the Central Bank on December 20, 2022 released the security features of the new Naira notes.
The security features of the new anira notes show 23 features on the N1,000 note, 15 features on the N500 note and 10 features on the N200 note.