By Aminu Kutama
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says its January 31, 2023 deadline for the validity of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes remains.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele announced this after the apex bank’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja on Tuesday. The CBN also raised the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), which measures interest rate, to 17.5 percent.
According to him, kidnapping and ransom-taking have reduced since the three banknotes were redesigned.
He also said the time given for the swap of the old naira notes with new ones were enough for Nigerians to go to commercial banks and get new notes.
The CBN on October 26, 2022 had announced its plan to redesign the three banknotes. President Muhammadu Buhari subsequently unveiled the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 notes on November 23, 2022, while the apex bank fixed January 31 deadline for the validity of the old notes.
There have been concerns from many Nigerians over the slow spread of the three new naira notes as the January 31 2023 deadline approaches but the apex bank has insisted that the date stands.
The CBN also recently directed commercial banks to halt over-the-counter payment of the new notes and load their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) with the redesigned naira notes to boost circulation.
The apex bank also launched a cash swap programme nationwide to enable those in the unbanked areas to exchange their old notes for new notes before the deadline.