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Business News of Tuesday, 3 January 2023


Scarcity of new Naira notes worries Nigerians days after release

New Naira notes New Naira notes

Seventeen days after the release of the redesigned N200, N500 and N1, 000 banknotes by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), millions of Nigerians have not physically seen or transacted business with the notes.

Many of those who spoke to Daily Trust in Abuja, Kano and Lagos are worried over the scarcity of the new notes, especially at banks’ Automated Teller Machine (ATM) points.

This concern is coming less than 28 days to the January 31 deadline CBN fixed for phasing out of the old naira banknotes.

The CBN introduced the redesigned banknotes on December 15, 2022, saying it was part of measures to control inflation, mop up currency outside the banking system, fight corruption and discourage payment of huge cash to kidnappers and bandits among others.

‘January phase-off sacrosanct’

The CBN had last week in a circular assured that “The current N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes will circulate side by side with the redesigned banknotes till January 31, 2023, when the current notes shall be withdrawn from circulation and cease to be legal tender.

“The current banknotes remain legal tender till January 31 and should not be rejected as a means of exchange for purchasing goods and services.”

CBN also emphasised that there will be no extension after the January 31, 2023 deadline. It said: “There will be no extension, so citizens are advised to ensure they deposit all the N200, N500 and N1, 000 banknotes in their possession before the deadline of January 31, 2023.”

On December 22, 2022, the Deputy Governor of CBN, Aisha Ahmad, while briefing the House of Representatives on the redesigned naira on behalf of the Central Bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, said 500 million mint notes were ordered by the bank.

She however, did not state how much those notes were worth.

“I am unable to share that now, only because I want to give an accurate figure,” Ahmad responded to the lawmakers’ enquiries.

Efforts to get new information from CBN was not successful as the spokesman, Osita Nwanisobi, did not respond to the enquiries put to him yesterday most likely because of the public holiday.