James Emejo in Abuja
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, yesterday said no one will be harassed by the anti-graft agencies for depositing the old naira notes following the recent currency redesign.
The old naira notes will cease to be legal tender after January 31, 2023.
Addressing journalists after the two-day meeting of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) in Abuja, the CBN governor said he had pleaded with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to allow people to deposit the old naira notes in their banks without harassment.
Emefiele said, “By last week, we had seen close to about N1.3 trillion to N1.5 trillion in. We are hoping that as we get into this week, we would move closer to N2 trillion. If we get N2 trillion in and those who decide to keep it in vaults decide to keep it in their homes, I am not going to force them to bring it out because they’ve been waiting. And I don’t know what else I am going to do to beg them to bring it.
“But if they don’t bring it, by January 31, it will be useless in their hands. So, I can only just beg them to please, bring it. We will take it on or before January 31st. “
He said, “Bring it, nobody is going to harass you. If you are afraid of being harassed, trust me, I have begged EFCC, and we have begged ICPC that they should please, allow us to do our work so that people will bring money in.
So, we are begging them to bring it in and nothing will happen to you on my honour.”
Emefiele said, “Before we came on with the new naira design, we said that in 2015, currency in circulation was N1.42 trillion. In 2022, currency in circulation had grown to N3.23 trillion more than double.
Out of the N3.2 trillion, about N1.7 trillion was outside the vaults of banks. This has made the efficacy of monetary policy to be difficult for the monetary policy committees because what you would have expected is that when currency is issued, it will circulate and after some time, the old and worn-out ones would be returned back to CBN.
“So, if the old and worn-out notes return back to CBN, there is no reason currency in circulation will grow from N1.4 trillion to N3.23 trillion in seven years.”
He said, “People are hoarding it; people are keeping vaults in their homes and we cannot allow them to become banks in their homes. They don’t have a license to build bank vaults in their homes.”