The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has finally bowed to pressure after it extended the deadline for the exchange of old naira notes for new notes till February 10.
The extension became imperative following the difficulty faced by Nigerians in exchanging their old notes for new notes.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele in a statement issued Sunday said the decision to redesign the Naira was already paying off as inflation has started trending downwards and exchange rates relatively stable.
He added that the military is already making good progress in combating banditry and ransom-taking in Nigeria through this programme.
Emefiele noted that available data has shown that in 2015, currency in circulation was only N1.4 trillion.
But as of October 2022, currency in circulation had risen to N3.23 trillion; out of which only N500 billion was within the banking industry and N2.7 trillion held permanently in people’s homes.
The CBN Governor said ordinarily when CBN releases currency into circulation, it is meant to be used and after effluxion of time, it returns to the CBN thereby keeping the volume of currency in circulation under the firm control of the CBN.
He said: “So far and since the commencement of this programme, we have collected about N1.9 trillion; leaving us with about N900 billion.
“Aside from those holding illicit or 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.
“A seven-day grace period, beginning on February 10 to February 17, 2023, in compliance with Sections 20(3) and 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.”