The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has extended the deadline for the use of the old naira notes till February 10.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, announced the extension in a statement signed on Sunday.
The announcement follows a meeting between Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele and Nigeria President Muhammadu Buhari.
Emefiele said there would be an additional 7-day grace period beginning from February 10 to February 17, 2023, in compliance with Section 20(3) and 22 of the CBN Act allowing Nigerians deposit their old naira notes at the CBN after the February 10 deadline when the old notes would have lost its legal status.
“He said: “So far and since the commencement of this program, we have collected about N1.9 trillion; leaving us with about N900 billion.”
The deadline for swapping the old notes for new ones was initially January 31. However many Nigerians have been complaining about the inability to swap their old notes for the new ones.
The CBN had previously said it would not extend the deadline. However, on Sunday, Emefiele said that as a result of measures put in place to ease the scarcity, President Muhammadu Buhari has given approval for the extension of the deadline.
Briefing journalists after the meeting, the CBN governor said: “We are happy that so far, the exercise has achieved a success rate of over 75 percent of the N2.7 trillion held outside the banking system. Nigerians in the rural areas, villages, the aged and vulnerable have had the opportunity to swap their old notes; leveraging the Agent Naira Swap initiative as well as the CBN Senior staff nationwide sensitization team exercise.
“Aside from those holding illicit/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.”
He further said: “Based on the foregoing, we have sought and obtained Mr. President’s approval for the following: a 10-day extension of the deadline from January 31, 2023, to February 10, 2023; to allow for the collection of more old notes legitimately held by Nigerians and achieve more success in cash swap in our rural communities after which all old notes outside the CBN loses their Legal Tender Status.
“A 7-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.”
He further said “Our CBN staff currently on mass mobilization and monitoring together with officials of the EFCC and ICPC will work together to achieve these objectives.”