CBN Insists On Old Notes Phase Out, Discloses Plan

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has said that plans to ensure the gradual phase-out of old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes are underway, as both old and new notes are concurrently being used.

This was disclosed by the acting governor of the apex bank, Folashodun Shonubi, after the monetary policy committee, MPC, meeting at the CBN headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday.

Recall that former CBN governor Godwin Emefiele had in October 2022, announced plans to redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 naira bills.

The now-suspended CBN governor had asked citizens to deposit their old notes before January 31, 2023, when they would stop being legal tender.

The deadline was extended by former president, Muhammadu Buhari.

However, the supreme court in a judgment passed in March 2023 nullified the redesign policy, ruling that the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes would remain as legal tender until December 31, 2023.

Giving updates on the demonetisation policy on Tuesday, Shonubi said the old notes would “slowly, and overtime be replaced”.

He noted that the old notes were being exchanged for the new ones whenever it was being requested by the commercial banks.

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Shonubi said, “When a currency is printed and sent out. It is expected that it will go through a number of cycles, and then over time, will become one and then be replaced. That’s what we’re doing.

“We had to put out or re-put out old notes. And as they’re coming in, they’re being processed and returned to us as not issuable. We are then bringing out and replacing them with the new notes.

“We believe that we have an optimal level of the currency out there and so much of what’s being done is replacement to keep the level, rather than just putting money out there.

“And that is seen by the fact that the banks, whenever they come to us for notes, we provide it to them. If it wasn’t enough, they will be asking us for more. If it was too much, they’ll be dumping that much more on us.

“So, we will slowly, and over time you will see the old notes replaced out of the system with the new notes that’ll be the norm.

“This will be out of practice, not fanfare, you’ll just see it slowly morph from old to new.”

Obiajulu Joel Nwolu

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