Breaking: CBN bows to pressure, extends Naira notes change deadline - P.M
Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele has bowed to public pressure and extended the deadline for the exchange of old naira notes for new ones till 10 February.
Emefiele announced the new deadline in a statement issued on Sunday. He also announced a grace period of seven days.
It means Nigerians have up till 17 February to swap their old naira notes for new ones.
The CBN governor had initially vowed to stick to the 31 January deadline for the exchange of old naira notes of N200, N500 and N1000 to the new ones.
But the National Assembly and state governors demanded an extension of the deadlines.
On Wednesday, the APC presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu escalated the demand in a major statement in Abeokuta.
He said the scarce new notes, along with petrol, was the handiwork of saboteurs.
On Saturday, President Buhari in a statement promised to ensure that the weak members of society do not suffer unduly as a result of CBN deadline for the swapping of currency.
He assured that government will ensure that citizens are unharmed in their businesses and no disruption is caused to the entire supply chain arising from the currency swap due to end shortly.
Reacting to reports of long queues of people waiting for hours for their turn to deposit old notes and get new ones, triggering public anger and opposition’s criticism, President Buhari reiterated that the currency changes were aimed at people hoarding illicit funds and not the common man, and that it had become necessary to prevent counterfeits, corruption, and terrorist funding. This, he assured, will stabilize and strengthen the economy.
While taking note that the poorest section of society is facing hardship as they often keep hard cash at home for various expenses, President Buhari gave strong assurances that the government will not leave them to their own fate.
He reiterated that a number of initiatives by the Central Bank and all commercial banks are underway to speed up distribution of the new notes and do all that is necessary to forestall cash squeeze and chaos.
Emefiele visited President Buhari in Daura on Sunday, where he got the approval to extend the currency swapping deadline.
His statement read:
“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 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.
“Our CBN staff currently on mass mobilization and monitoring together with officials of the EFCC and ICPC will work together to achieve these objectives.
“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.”