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The Key Takeaways from President Buhari’s new Currency Directives

The unrest in Nigeria spurred by the scarcity of legal tender forced the president of the country to address the nation.

In his address, he gave new directives that would help ease the transition of phasing out the old notes.

Nigeria is currently experiencing a nationwide unrest, owing to the directive of the Central Bank to phase out the country’s old currency notes.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), back in December 2022, unveiled the new currency design for the N100, N200, N500, and N1000 Naira notes, after which the governor of the Central Bank, Godwin Emefiele, disclosed that the old notes of these denominations would seize to be legal tender by January 31, 2023.

However, a shortage of new notes prompted the Central Bank to extend its initial deadline to February 10, 2023. This extension did little to mitigate the problem as the shortage of new naira notes persisted, with the CBN unwilling to grant another extension, despite Nigeria’s supreme court ruling that the old Naira notes would remain legal tender till further notice.

As a result, there has been a series of unrest, protests, vandalism, and deceleration in economic activities across the country, which finally forced the president of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari to address the country.

Below are 5 of the most important takeaways from the president’s speech as it relates to the Naira saga.

  • President Muhammadu Buhari authorized the CBN to reintroduce the old N200 banknotes into circulation and to enable them to circulate as legal money alongside the new N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes for 60 days, from February 10, 2023, until April 10, 2023.
  • In line with Section 20(3) of the CBN Act 2007, all existing old N1000 and N500 notes remain redeemable at the CBN and designated points.
  • Under the president’s directive, the CBN has been authorized to intensify collaboration with anti-corruption agencies, to ensure that any institution or person(s) found to have impeded or sabotaged the implementation of new currency policies should be made to bear the full weight of the law.
  • The president urged the CBN to use all lawful resources and legal methods to guarantee that citizens are fully informed on the policy, and have easy access to cash withdrawals due to the availability of adequate amounts of currency.
  • Since the commencement of this program, about N2.1 trillion out of the banknotes previously held outside the banking system had been successfully retrieved.

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