The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has on Tuesday stated that there is no going back on the January 31st deadline on the phase-out of old naira notes hours after the Senate pleaded for a 6 months extension. CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, who spoke at the apex bank’s Monetary Policy Committee meeting in Abuja, stated that Nigerians were given enough time to replace their old notes with new ones.
The CBN had on October 26, 2022, announced its plan to redesign the three banknotes, N200, N500 and N1,000 notes on November 23, 2022, while the apex bank fixed a January 31 deadline for the validity of the old notes.
However, many including public office holders have been pressing for the deadline extension since access to the new naira notes was scarce. Senator Sadiq Umar earlier moved a motion on the floor of the red chamber on Tuesday demanding the extension to July 31. The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, put the prayers in motion to vote and the lawmakers voted in support of the extension of the deadline from January 31 to July 31.
In the same vein, Rep. Sanda Soli (APC-Katsina) at the plenary on Tuesday called the CBN’s also plea with the CBN for an extension noting that all over the world, currencies were being ‘phased out’ and not ‘forced out’.
He added that while the cashless policy was in tandem with global best practices most banks in Nigeria did not have what it takes to ensure that such was achieved.
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rep Femi Gbajabiamila, said that as good as the policy was, the modus operandi and the timing were the problems.
According to the speaker, “There is nothing wrong in reviewing a policy; banks are claiming they don’t have the new naira notes, while CBN is also claiming the banks have them”.
In relation to the extension and review, the House has set up an ad-hoc committee, led by Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, to meet with bank operators on Wednesday on Jan. 31 deadline on the old currency, while the CBN governor will appear on Thursday.