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CBN Indefinitely Extends Validity of Old Naira Notes as Cash Scarcity Reappears

By Modupe Gbadeyanka

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the indefinite extension of the December 31, 2023, deadline for the validity of the old N200, N500, and N1,000 currency notes.

The central bank confirmed this development in a statement issued on Tuesday night by its Director of Corporate Communications, Mr Isa AbdulMumin.

In 2022, the CBN, under the leadership of its former Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, introduced a Naira redesign policy, which changed the outlook of the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes.

The apex bank then said the old currency notes would no longer be legal tender in the country from January 31, 2023. This deadline was later shifted to February 10, and because of a case instituted by some state governors, the Supreme Court extended the deadline to December 31, 2023.

Before the apex court ruled on the matter, the economy was down due to the scarcity of the Naira notes, sparking violent protests across the nation.

As the December 2023 deadline draws closer, Nigerians are again finding it difficult to access their money from banks, which are rationing cash to their customers.

To avert another crisis, the central bank earlier assured Nigerians that it had enough cash to go around, cautioning against panic withdrawals.

However, this seems not to have worked, forcing the bank to announce an indefinite extension of the deadline for the swapping of old notes to new currency notes.

“The Central Bank of Nigeria wishes to inform the general public of its desire to extend the legal tender status deadline of the old design of N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations, ad infinitum. This is in line with international best practices and to forestall a repeat of earlier experiences.

“Thus, all banknotes issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), in accordance with 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 Central Bank of Nigeria is working with the relevant authorities to vacate the subsisting court ruling on the same subject,” the statement issued last night said.

The CBN urged members of the public “to continue to accept all Naira banknotes (old or redesigned) for day-to-day transactions and handle these banknotes with utmost care, to safeguard and protect the lifecycle of the banknotes.

“Also, the general public is encouraged to embrace alternative modes of payment, e-channels, for day-to-day transactions.”

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