The Senate has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to extend its deadline of phasing out of circulation of old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes from January 31st to June 30th, 2023.
Senator Ali Ndume, representing Borno South, gave the recommendation during plenary at the Senate chambers.
According to Ndume, the notice given by the CBN is too short, considering the “few” banks in Borno and Yobe states and the “inability” of people in these states to lodge the old notes in time to meet the deadline.
Ndume said, “This senate notes that many Nigerian banks on Thursday,15th December 2022, opened their vaults to customers and depositors to exchange their old currency for the newly redesigned currency which has a stipulated deadline of January 31.
“Some Nigerians are already envisaging long queues in the banking hall across the country as a result of people trying to get access to the new naira note.
“The old notes are expected to be in circulation along the new ones until January 31 when the old ones are expected to be phased out.
The lawmaker also said that access to the new notes would be compounded by recent circular by the CBN which limited the amount of cash withdrawal by corporate entities to withdraw within certain period of time.
He stated, “The withdrawal of old notes from circulation if not extended beyond 31, many Nigerians will be thrown into hardship and to avoid the repeat of 1984 experience withdrawal of old notes.”
Contributing, Senator Adamu Aliero represening Kebbi State, said that it was true that in rural areas, people were not even aware that there was going to be currency change.
“So this motion is very apt and timely. If we insist on the date given by CBN, it will cause a lot of hardship for our rural dwellers.
“Majority of our people live in rural areas where there are no banks and PoS. It is appropriate we extend the time as suggested in the motion,”Aliero said.
The Central Bank of Nigeria, through its Governor Godwin Emefiele, had announced on the 26th October 2022, its plans to redesign 200, 500, and 1,000 naira notes, saying the new and existing currencies will remain legal tender and circulate together until January 31, 2023 when the old notes will seize to be legal tenders.
The apex bank believes the redesigned notes will limit cash in circulation and therefore restrict the deplorable activities of ransom-demanding kidnappers as well as politicians set on rigging the upcoming elections.
Story: Christy Dung