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Emefiele: CBN Will Accept Old Naira Notes After Feb. 10 Deadline
Juliet Akoje in Abuja
The Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has said that the apex bank would still accept the old naira notes after the February 10 deadline.
Emefiele made this known Tuesday in Abuja during his appearance before the House of Representatives Adhoc Committee on Cashless Policy.
The CBN governor had after meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura on Sunday announced the extension of the deadline for the old naira notes from January 31 to February 10. He also announced a 7-day grace period from January 31, when the old notes would have lost legal tender status, to February 17 for people with the old notes to swap them at the CBN.
Appearing before the House Tuesday, Emefiele however noted that “even if the old notes have exhausted the legal tender status, you can bring it to the CBN, you will not lose your money. We are happy that in 19 years we are able to carry out this mandate.”
He added that the naira redesign policy and the cashless policy had moderated inflation in the country and also curtailed the activities of kidnapers and bandits.
According to him, “with the redesign of new naira notes, inflation is moderating, exchange rate is stable and we are hoping that naira can be stronger.”
“The incidence of kidnapping and banditry had reduced”, adding that the CBN was aware that in the process of redesigning of naira notes, some would be hurt.
He however called on the lawmakers and Nigerians to show understanding, adding that the CBN is out to combat insecurity in the country.
He called on those affected by the policy to bear with the CBN, while urging Nigerians to comply with the directive.
Furthermore, he said, “at this initial stage, there will be hitches but it is to make Nigerian economy better and stronger. CBN has deployed all its staff to go to their locality to sensitise them on the new naira notes, and this had achieved a success of over 75 per cent”
He said out of N2.7 trillion old currency notes in circulation it had recovered N1.9 trillion, while commending Nigerians for complying with the implementation of the cashless policy.
He further stated that “in 2022 the total currency from CBN was N3.2 trillion and more than N2.7trillion were out of banking system, making our mandate difficult. The currency in circulation was N1.4 trillion”, adding l, ” in Oct 2022, the currency in circulation rose to N3.23.trillion. More than N2.7 trillion are out of the banking system, it was held in people’s hand and it makes the CBN policy implementation difficult.”
He however expressed gratitude to President Muhammadu Buhari’s for approving the policy implementation after the CBN complained and provided the requisite information on the implication.
He stated that “the President graciously gave approval on Oct. 6 2022 and we expected that the currency would circulate. The CBN had taken a number of actions to ensure that the new l currency is circulated.”
Earlier, the Chairman of the committee, Hon. Ado-Doguwa, said “the CBN Governor’s appearance was borne out of the respect he has for the institution, we invited him twice and he is finally here”.
Ado Doguwa said that “this is victory for our democracy, the economy and the people of Nigeria.The importance of this engagement was based on the mandate of House through a motion”
This according to the lawmaker bothers on the concern of Nigerian people on the policy of naira redesigning and mopping of the old naira notes.
“We felt we have the moral obligation to invite you to engage with Nigerian people. This is a fact finding committee to get the updates of what is happening. The committee had extracted the same information from banks operators and that its major concern was about the lives and livelihood of Nigerian and the economy including the rule of law”
The lawmaker said that the CBN policy had a direct bearing on the lives of the people, adding that the House was not happy that people were queuing to have access to ATM and lives had been affected because of the policy.
“The cashless policy is a good policy, let’s see how we can partner to make it work. We are under moral obligation to seek clarification from you,” he said
However, he noted that the concern of the house was that the CBN introduced the policy when the country was facing general elections.