The Central Bank of Nigeria has reaffirmed its commitment to gradually phase out the old N200, N500, and N1,000 naira notes while issuing new currencies.
This announcement was made by the acting governor of the apex bank, Folashodun Shonubi, during the Monetary Policy Committee meeting held at the CBN headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday.
In October 2022, Godwin Emefiele, the former CBN governor, unveiled plans to redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 naira bills.
As part of the initiative, he called on Nigerians to deposit their old notes before January 31, 2023, as they would cease to be legal tender after that date. However, later on, the CBN disclosed that the former president, Muhammadu Buhari, had approved an extension of the deadline for the demonetisation of the old notes.
Nevertheless, in March 2023, the Supreme Court invalidated the naira redesign policy introduced by the central bank, ruling that the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes would remain as legal tender until December 31, 2023.
Providing updates on the demonetisation policy during the recent MPC meeting, Folashodun Shonubi clarified that the old notes would gradually be replaced over time. Whenever commercial banks request new currency, the old notes are exchanged for the new ones, ensuring a smooth transition.
Shonubi explained, “When a currency is printed and sent out, it is expected to go through a number of cycles and be replaced over time. That’s what we’re doing. We are slowly and over time replacing the old notes with new ones.”
The CBN’s approach is focused on maintaining an optimal level of currency circulation, ensuring a seamless replacement process without causing disruptions to the financial system. Shonubi emphasised that the transition from old to new notes would be carried out without fanfare, allowing Nigerians to witness the gradual shift in the currency landscape.
As the CBN continues its efforts to introduce new currency while phasing out the old notes, stakeholders are closely monitoring the developments in Nigeria’s monetary system.