President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a 10-day extension for Nigerians to swap their old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes for the new ones.
It was initially fixed for January 31st but following widespread outcries occasioned by shortage of the new notes amid rejection of the old ones by some operators in the informal sector, probably forced the government to soft-pedalled.
Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor Godwin Emefiele disclosed this on Sunday in Daura, Katsina State a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in his Daura country home.
Emefiele said banks will continue to disburse notes in exchange for the old ones till February 10, 2023.
The CBN Governor also said from February 10, Nigerians will have the grace of visiting the CBN to deposit their old notes for new ones for another seven days, which ends on February 17, 2023.
“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 values.
“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.
According to him, 75 percent of the N2.7 trillion trapped outside the banking system has been recovered.
He said: “We are happy that so far, the exercise has achieved a success rate of over 75 per cent of the N2.7 trillion held outside the banking system.
“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,” he said.