Godwin Emefiele, the governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), says the deadline for the phasing out of some specific banknotes has been extended till February 10 and 17 respectively. The Bank had initially fixed January 31 deadline for the exchanging of incumbent N200, N500, and N1,000 notes for their redesigned variants.
According to Emefiele, President Muhammadu Buhari gave the approval for the new dates. His admission on Buhari’s influence on the policy negates the ostensible independence of the Bank to make monetary policies for the country amid its other responsibilities.
Emefiele, after meeting with President Buhari in his native town of Daura, in Katsina state, said, “We have today sought and obtained Mr. President’s approval for the following: one, a 10 day extension of the deadline from January 31, 2023, to February 10, 2023, to allow for collection of more old notes, legitimately held by Nigerians and achieve more success in cash swap in rural areas in our villages and communities, after which all old notes outside the CBN lose their legal tender status.
“Our CBN staff currently on mass mobilisation and monitoring, together with officials of the EFCC and ICPC, will work together to achieve these objectives in the coming days.
“Two, a seven-day grace period, beginning on February 10, to February 17, 2023, in compliance with Section 20, subsection 3, and section 22 of the CBN Act, allowing Nigerians to deposit their old notes at the CBN after the February deadline, when the old currency would have lost its legal tender status.
“We, therefore, appeal to all Nigerians to work with the Central Bank of Nigeria to achieve a hitch-free process for the implementation of this very important program,” he said.
The Bank had all along claimed that trillions of naira in the economy was outside its control and believes the policy would help it achieve a tighter control on money supply.
On this, Emefiele said 75 percent of the N2.7 trillion outside the banking system had been recovered.
“Nigerians in the rural areas, villages, the aged and vulnerable have had the opportunity to swap their old notes; leveraging the Agent Naira Swap initiative as well as the CBN Senior staff nationwide sensitization team exercise.
“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.”