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Thursday, July 11, 2024

Naira redesign: N900bn still in people’s homes — CBN governor

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefile, has announced that President Muhammadu Buhari has approved a 10-day extension from the original deadline of January 31 to February 10 to allow Nigerians who still have old naira notes to deposit them with their banks. He also revealed that a total of N900 billion is still in people’s possession.

In accordance with Sections 20(3) and 22 of the CBN Act, the apex bank declared a seven-day grace period, from February 10 to February 17, 2023, to allow Nigerians to deposit their old notes at the CBN after the deadline when the old currency would have ceased to be legal tender.

Announcing the extension, Mr. Emefiele said, “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 lose their legal tender status.

“Our CBN staff currently on mass mobilisation and monitoring together with officials of the EFCC and ICPC will work together to achieve these objectives.

There will be a seven-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.”

He added: “Aside from those holding illicit/stolen naira in their homes for speculative purposes, we do aim to give all Nigerians that have naira legitimately earned and trapped the op- portunity to deposit their legitimately trapped monies at the CBN for exchange.”

He made an appeal to all Nigerians to cooperate with the Central Bank of Nigeria in order to ensure a smooth implementation of this crucial program.

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Giving the exercise a rating, Mr Emefiele said,

“so far and since the commencement of this programme, we have collected about N1.9 trillion; leaving us with about N900 billion.

Mr. Emefiele noted that the CBN took numerous measures, including holding numerous meetings with Deposit Money Banks (DMBS) and giving them Guidance Notes on the procedures they must follow in the collection of old notes and distribution of the new notes to all Nigerians, to achieve effective distribution of the new notes.

Emefiele said, “This includes specific directives to DMBs to load new notes into their ATMs na- tionwide to ensure an equitable/transparent mechanism for the distribution of the new notes to all Nigerians.

“We commenced a nationwide sensitisation through the print and electronic media to create an awareness on the redesigned notes to Nigerians, including collaboration with the National Orientation Agency to reach all Nigerians across multiple channels.

“We deployed 30,000 super agents nationwide to assist in our cash swap initiative in the hinterlands, rural areas, and regions underserved by banks in the country to ensure that the weak and vulnerable ones amongst us can swap/ exchange their old notes.

“We deployed all our staff, particularly the assistant directors, deputy directors and directors in Abuja to proceed to all CBN branches Nationwide to join the mass mobilisation campaign and monitoring programmes, working with the deposit money banks, agents and our branch controllers across the 36 states of the Federation.

“This is meant to ensure compliance with all our guidelines already issued for smooth implementation of the programme.

“Although we have received some reports of breaches by some bank branches, we have agreed with executive chairmen of the EFCC and ICPC to assist us by sending their staff to all CBN and DMB branches nationwide to join in monitoring the implementation of these guidelines.”

Emefiele emphasized that the goal is to ensure adherence to the established rules, stating that

“we are happy that so far, the exercise has achieved a success rate of over 75 percent of the N2.7 trillion held outside the banking system.”

He continued by saying that via the agent naira swap program as well as the CBN Senior Staff nationwide sensitization team activity, Nigerians in rural regions, villages, the elderly, and the most vulnerable had the chance to exchange their old notes.

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Emefiele reiterated the motivations for the naira redesign program, stating that it aims to improve the effectiveness of monetary policy actions and that inflation has already started to trend lower and exchange rates have mostly stabilized.

Additionally, he added, the legislation aims to bolster the security authorities’ efforts to combat banditry and ransom taking in Nigeria, where the military is already succeeding in this crucial duty.

Emefiele noted that:

“Available data at the Central Bank of Nigeria has shown that in 2015, Currency in Circulation was only N1.4 trillion. As at October 2022, currency in circulation had risen to N3.23 trillion; out of which only N500 billion was within the banking industry and N2.7 trillion, held permanently in people’s homes.

“Ordinarily, when CBN releases currency into circulation, it is meant to be used and after effluxion of time, it returns to the CBN thereby keeping the volume of CURRENCY in circulation under the firm control of the CBN.”

He expressed gratitude to President Buhari for approving the CBN’s participation in the program and emphasized that

“the Central Bank of Nigeria hasn’t had the opportunity to embark on such currency redesign programme in last 19 years and indeed, let me emphasise that only an incorruptible leader of the president’s stature can give such approval to the CBN.”

Source: Tribune