Central Bank of Nigeria, on Tuesday, insisted that it will not extend the January 31 deadline for the old 200, 500 and 1,000 naira notes as legal tender in the country.
CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele restated the apex bank’s position after the Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja on Tuesday.
He also insisted that Nigerians had been given enough time to swap their old naira notes for new ones.
Emefiele also said kidnapping and ransom-taking had reduced since the redesigning of the three banknotes.
But many Nigerians have continued to lament the unavailability and scarcity of the new notes, as banks are still giving out the old naira notes to customers despite the deadline being only a few days away.
Although the apex bank in its efforts to ensure everyone is carried along, embarked on a cash swap programme nationwide to enable those in the unbanked areas to exchange their old notes before the January 31 deadline, it excluded Lagos and Abuja mobile money/Point of Sales operators from the programme.
Also recently, CBN ordered commercial banks to immediately stop over-the-counter withdrawal of the new notes and load their Automated Teller Machines with the redesigned naira notes to boost its circulation.
But inspite of the efforts of the apex bank, bank customers have continued to lament the scarcity of the new notes.
Meanwhile, House of Representatives, on Tuesday, summoned commercial banks over the scarcity of the new naira notes.
Managing Directors/Chief Executive Officers of the banks, under the aegis of the Bankers’ Committee, are to meet with an ad hoc committee of the House under the chairmanship of the Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, on Wednesday (tomorrow).
The banks, at the meeting, are expected to explain the alleged supply shortage from the CBN. Afterwards, the lawmakers will invite the leadership of the apex bank for questioning.
The House also resolved that the window for swapping the old notes with the new ones be extended by six months.
In the same vein, Senate on Tuesday, appealed to the CBN to extend the deadline by six months as well, from January 31 to July 31, 2023.
On October 26, 2022, CBN had announced its plan to redesign the three banknotes. President Muhammadu Buhari later unveiled the redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 notes on November 23, 2022, while the apex bank fixed January 31 deadline for the old notes to cease to be legal tender in the country.