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Naira redesign: Uncertainties over January 31 deadline, experts warn CBN

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Twenty-one days to the deadline set by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for the stoppage of the circulation of the old Naira notes, there are doubts the apex bank might be unable to meet the January 31 target.

This is more so as some Nigerians have expressed worries and disappointment over the scarcity of the new naira notes and the apex bank’s handling of the process.

Recall that the CBN announced in October last year that it planned to redesign, produce, and circulate new series of N200, N500 and N1,000 notes. The three notes represent the highest denomination of Nigeria’s eight legal tenders.

Following the launch of the new designs on November 23, 2022, by President Muhammadu Buhari, the new currency notes were circulated from December 15, 2022, with both the new and existing notes considered legal tender until January 31, 2023.

DAILY POST conducted investigations across multiple bank branches and ATM galleries in the Abuja Federal Capital Territory between Monday and Friday last week to determine if the CBN directive had been complied with.

Our correspondent visited various bank branches in Maitama, Utako, Kubwa, Wuse and the Central Business District.

Findings showed that most of them were still dispensing old notes to their customers. Also, over-the-counter customers were being given old notes.

At the Access Bank branch in Utako District in Abuja, our correspondent who used the ATM reported that old notes of N500 and N1000 denominations were being dispensed to customers. The same was reported in other locations visited by our correspondents.

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Also, some of the PoS operators doing business within Kubwa, Bwari Area Council of the FCT said that they did not have new notes to give to their customers, adding that in a bail of N100,000 they got from the bank, only N1,000 new notes were issued to them.

Amid the concerns about the scarcity of the new notes, CBN had insisted that January 31, 2023, remains the deadline for old currencies to be phased out from circulation.

DAILY POST gathered that the apex bank recently issued a directive to the banks on Wednesday and ordered the implementation to begin immediately.

However, as of last weekend, the banks had not complied with the directive by the apex bank as they complained of inadequate supply of the new notes, prompting them to load their ATMs with the old notes.

Although the CBN maintained that the current series of N200, N500 and N1,000 notes would remain legal tender until its January 31 deadline, it however, advised Nigerians to ensure they deposited all the old N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes in their possession before the deadline.

It further noted that there would be no extension for the use of the old notes beyond the stated date

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