New naira: Extend deadline, Senate urges CBN

Alade Abayomi ADeleke
Alade Abayomi ADeleke

The Senate has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria to extend the deadline for withdrawal of old Naira notes from the economy, fixed for January 31, 2023, to June 30, 2023.


CBN had announced in November that the old naira notes of N1,000, N500 and N200 denominations would be withdrawn from circulation by January 31, 2023, as they would no longer be a legal tender afterwards.


The Senate, however, on Wednesday, during its plenary on the strength of motion titled: “Urgent need to extend the withdrawal of old currency from circulation”, and sponsored by Senator Ali Ndume, representing Borno South, urged the CBN to extend the deadline from January 31, 2023, to June 30, 2023.


Ndume said that the timing of the policy was wrong and that up until the time of speaking the new notes were not yet in full circulation.


The motion read, “Senate Notes that Many Nigerian banks on Thursday 15th December 2022 open their vault to customers and depositors to exchange their old naira notes for the newly redesigned currency, which has a stipulated deadline of January 31, 2023.


“Aware that Some Nigerians are already envisaging rush and long queues in the banking hall across the country as a result of people trying to get access to the new naira note, which was unveiled last month by President Mohammad Buhari at a brief ceremony at the state house, Abuja.


“Aware also that the old notes are expected to be in circulation alongside the new ones until January 31, 2023, when the old notes are expected to be phased out, it is expected that many Nigerian businesses would start to reject the old notes as soon as the banks start paying out the redesigned notes to customers.


“Observes that Access to the new notes may be compounded by the recent circular by the CBN, which limit the number of cash individuals and corporate entities could withdraw within a certain period of time. For instance, the CBN said individuals could only withdraw N100, 000 per week while corporate could only have access to N500, 000 per week through over-the-counter transactions.


“Observes that access to large quantities of cash above the limit would attract processing fees of 5% and 10% for individuals and corporate entities respectively. Large withdrawals are also subjected to scrutiny by the regulator to determine the importance and usage of such cash; and convinced that if the withdrawal of old notes from circulation is not extended beyond 31st January 2023, many Nigerians will be thrown into hardship and to avoid a repeat of 1984 experience withdrawal of old notes.”

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