CBN finally extends deadline to change old Naira notes

Some Nigerians have conveyed relief as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced a 10-day extension to the Jan. 31 deadline to change their old Naira notes. reports that the extension was confirmed on Sunday by the CBN Governor Mr Godwin Emefiele in Daura, Katsina State.

According to Emefiele, the extension is necessitated by the need to allow for the collection of more old notes legitimately held by Nigerians, especially in the rural areas.

He said that staff of the apex bank were presently on mass mobilisation and monitoring, in collaboration with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and ICPC.

The CBN governor said that the currency swap had so far achieved a 75 per cent success rate, as a chunk of the N2.7 trillion outside the banking system had been mopped up.

“Aside from those holding illicit/stollen funds in their homes for speculative purposes, we do aim to give all Nigerians that have Naira legitimately earned the opportunity to deposit their monies at the CBN.

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“Based on the following, we have sought and gotten approval of Mr President for a 10-day extension of the deadline from Jan. 31 to Feb. 10 to allow for collection of more old notes.

“A seven-day grace period, beginning from Feb.10 to Feb. 17 was also granted in compliance with the CBN Act, allowing Nigerians to deposit their old notes at the CBN.

“We, therefore, appeal to all Nigerians to work with the CBN to ensure a hitch-free process for the implementation of this important programme, ” Emefiele said.

Meanwhile, a financial expert, Mr Okechukwu Unegbu, said that the idea of a deadline on currency swap had legal implications.

According to Unegbu, a past President of the Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), the old Naira is the property of the apex bank and it is obliged to receive it whenever it is presented to them.

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He, however, commended the CBN for the currency redesign initiative, adding that it would help check some criminal activities.

“The policy is commendable, but I would have preferred a situation where the CBN does not allow itself to be intimidated into changing its stance.

“I think Nigerians were of the view that after Jan. 31, they would not be able to swap the old Naira; that is not true. By law, the CBN is obliged to receive the old currency at any time, even after the deadline.

“The difference is that, the currency would have seized to be legal tender, and the DMBs would no longer be able to accept it. But the  law permits Nigerians to take it to the CBN.

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” That’s why they gave another grace period of seven days. Even in England, when they change their currency, after the deadline, the Bank of England would continue to accept the old currency, ” he said.

According to Daniel Ibe, a businessman, the extension came with huge relief.

“I am very happy, and my business partners and colleagues are also relieved and very happy with the extension.

“It has been extremely difficult to deposit our old notes and access the new ones in the last few days, but with this extension, we cannot complain again.

“We can only urge the CBN to make provision for adequate supply of the new notes,” he said. (NAN)

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