On Thursday last week, December 15, 2022, commercial banks across the nation commenced the dispensing of the newly redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 Naira notes. Although, many banks’ branches are yet to begin to give out the new notes, a few branches and Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are already dispensing the new notes.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had on October 26 announced that it will be redesigning the new notes. The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele had said the plan to redesign the higher denomination notes was a way of curbing inflation, as well as reducing the amount of cash outside of the banking halls. Since the redesigning of the Naira was announced, more than N2 trillion had been pulled back into the vaults of banks as well as that of the CBN.
The policy had also received the backing of president Muhammadu Buhari, who on November 23, 2022, unveiled the new Naira notes, weeks before the December 15, 2022 date, set by the apex bank. According to the timetable set by CBN, the new notes will be dispensed from December 15, 2022 and run concurrently with the old notes. However, the old notes will no longer be legal tender effective January 31, 2023.
An entrepreneur residing in Abuja, Halima Dankwat says, “I went to the bank this morning to resolve an issue with my account. On my way out I decided to use the ATM. I was surprised that it was still dispensing old notes! When I asked a staff, they told me to come back later in the day or tomorrow. How frustrating,” she concluded.
The CBN Governor had stressed that there will be no going back on the January 31, 2023 deadline given for Nigerians to deposit the existing naira notes in the banks in exchange for the newly redesigned notes, no wonder the agitation of Nigerians to get the newly redesigned notes. “Please deposit your money because by 31 of January 2023 only the new notes are what is useful and you will have to dump the old ones. Nigerians will see less cash in circulation,” Emefiele stated.
He also noted that CBN is more than prepared for the transition from old notes to new notes within the stipulated period. “I said December 15 when we announced it. We said that will be when we issue the cash, but we have to move it forward as the president unveiled it on November 26 and yesterday the banks have received the new cash and will start dispensing them.
“I can assure everyone that it will go round but let us be calm and be patient. Luckily the old currency continues to be legal tender until January 31 2023.”