Reports reaching the desk of Africa Today News, New York has it that the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele has revealed that the redesigned naira notes that was billed to be unveiled on December 15 have now been brought forward to Wednesday, November 23, 2022 (today).
He also ruled out an extension of the lifespan of the old notes, insisting that by January 31, 2023, the old notes cease to become legal tender.
Africa Today News, New York recalls that on October 26, Emefiele had in a widely circulated message announced the plan to redesign the naira to control money supply and aid security agencies in tackling illicit financial flows.
The governor had revealed that the new notes (N200, N500 and N1000) will be effective from mid-December 2022.
However, on Tuesday, Emefiele said the bank will no longer wait till December 15 to “unveil and release” the new note.
He said the unveiling will now be done tomorrow — 23 days earlier than the scheduled date — by Buhari.
Emefiele’s comment follows calls for an extension of the December 15 deadline by various stakeholders across the country.
‘The question that has been raised is that are we going to shift the deadline? The answer remains no, capital no. We will not shift any deadline. What we have done is not against the law. It is in tandem with the law. We announced this program on October the 26th 2022. And we said that upon release of the new currency, the legal tender status will run concurrently with the old currency till 31st January 2023. That is almost 100 days. 100 days is enough for any person in any part of Nigeria to deposit his money in the bank and get ready to withdraw cash when the new notes are released,” he said.
‘For information, indeed, we are no longer waiting till December 15 to begin to unveil and begin to release the new notes. By the special grace of God tomorrow, which is the 23rd of November 2022, the President has graciously accepted to unveil the new currencies and the new currencies will be unveiled tomorrow at the federal executive chambers by 10am.
‘So, when you talk about whether we have made adequate provisions to make sure that those who have cash are able to deposit their cash with the bank, my answer is yes. Because, on 26th of October I made it very clear. I said all banks will keep their currency processing centres open from Mondays to Saturdays. We went further [to] release the press release and said that the Central Bank of Nigeria’s 36 currency processing centres all over the country will also be left open from Mondays to Saturdays to receive cash. Three, we have deployed our agency banking network to receive, and in fact, pay cash when the new notes are released to those in our rural areas. When people say there are people in rural areas who cannot pay cash, they just are begging the question, they don’t know what they are saying. They have other motives, [and] it is not because they are sympathetic to the cause of the ordinary weak people in our rural area.
‘In 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria or banking industries agency license network was only at 86,000. As of October, 2022, our agency banking network has increased to 1.4 million all over Nigeria in almost all the local governments in Nigeria, I therefore cannot see any reason why anybody would say that he needs an extension because he can’t deposit his money in the bank, even if you’re in a rural area. And the agency networks is like saying that we have 1.4 currency points all over the country, then how can anybody come and say that he wants to shift the deadline because there are people in the rural areas that cannot deposit cash? That is a lie. They know what they have in mind and we will not go with them on that journey.’
Africa Today News, New York reports that there have been mixed reactions among Nigerians following the announcement.