Naira redesign: Extend deadline to June 30, 2023, Senate tells CBN

The Senate has urged the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend deadline of withdrawal of old Naira notes fixed for January 31, 2023 to June 30, 2023.

CBN had in November announced to Nigerians that naira notes of N1,000, N500 and N200 denomination, would be re – designed into new colours with attendant withdrawal of old notes from circulation from December 15, 2022 to January 31, 2023 when they will no longer become legal tender.

But the Senate at the Wednesday plenary on the strength of motion sponsored by Senator Ali Ndume (APC Borno South) , urged the CBN to extend the deadline from January 31, 2023 to June 30, 2023.

Ndume in the notion titled: “Urgent need to extend the withdrawal of old currency from circulation,” noted that the timing of the policy was wrong and  that since the beginning of the implementation of the policy,  the new notes are not in circulation even in cities talkless of in the villages.

The motion reads: “Senate Notes that Many Nigerian banks on Thursday 15th December 2022 open their vault to customers and depositors to exchange their old naira notes for the newly redesigned currency, which has a stipulated deadline of January 31, 2023.

“Aware that Some Nigerians are already envisaging rush and long queues in the banking hall across the country as a result of people trying to get access to the new naira note, which was unveiled last month by President Mohammad Buhari at a brief ceremony at the state house, Abuja.

“Aware also that  the old notes are expected to be in circulation alongside the new ones until January 31, 2023, when the old notes are expected to be phased out, it is expected that many Nigerian businesses would start to reject the old notes as soon as the banks start paying out the redesigned notes to customers.

“Observes that Access to the new notes may be compounded by the recent circular by the CBN, which limit the amount of cash individuals and corporate entities could withdraw within a certain period of time. For instance, the CBN said individuals could only withdraw N100, 000 per week while corporate could only have access to N500, 000 per week through over-the-counter (OTC) transactions.

“Observes that access to large quantities of cash above the limit would attract processing fees of 5% and 10% for individuals and corporate entities respectively. Large withdrawals are also subjected to scrutiny by the regulator to determine the importance and usage of such cash; and onvinced that if the withdrawal of old notes from circulation is not extended beyond 31st January 2023,  many Nigerians will be thrown into hardship and to avoid a repeat of 1984 experience withdrawal of old notes.”

Senator Adamu Aliero (PDP Kebbi Central) and other senators who contributed to debate on the motion, submitted that the time frame given for implementation of the policy was too short and difficult for Nigerians to comply with.