The International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday that Nigeria should consider extending a deadline to swap old banknotes because of the disruption to trade and payments being caused by a shortage of new notes.
Nigerians have to turn in 1,000, 500 and 200 naira notes by Friday, when they cease to be legal tender.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has started releasing newly designed notes, but many Nigerians say they are not yet available in banks, sparking acute cash shortages and chaotic scenes at banks.
Ari Aisen, IMF resident representative in Nigeria, said in a statement: “In spite of measures introduced by the CBN to mitigate the challenges in the banknote swap process, the IMF encourages the CBN to consider extending the deadline, should problems persist in the next few days.”
The CBN has said recalling the banknotes is part of plans to reduce the use of cash and curb double-digit inflation. About 1.3 trillion naira ($2.8 billion) in old notes has been deposited into the bank since the announcement in October, according to the bank.