Breaking: Supreme Court Declares Old Naira Notes Remain Legal For 10 Months

Confirmed! Banks Now Accept Old Naira Notes Up To N500,000

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Prime Business Africa (PBA) reports that Nigerian banks accept old Naira notes up to N500,000 from retail customers. This was the outcome of a meeting of chief executive officers of banks following customer pressure on banks’ branches over the CBN deadline  for return of old N500 and N1000 notes.

One of the bank executives who attended the meeting with CBN officials on Friday, February 17, 2023, told PBA that the banks now accept old Naira notes after they got the permission of the CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele to receive as much as N500,000 of the  N200, N500 and N1000.  This is after the bank customer would have registered with the CBN through a dedicated portal and secured a code to deposit the old notes in the banks.

“We ensure (of course, the CBN guidelines for such deposits guarantees it) that such deposits come from real retail customers and not these politicians looking for money to buy votes for the 2023 general elections,” a CEO of one of the Nigerian banks told Prime Business Africa on telephone.

Confirming that all CEOs actually met in response to the pressures following the old naira note deadline and scarcity of the new notes, the bank CEO said: “Of course, you would assume that such meeting would have taken place with the CBN in attendance. These days, we (bank CEOs) meet as a committee with the CBN almost every other day because of the issues at hand. And one of the solutions we have found is to accept as much as N500,000 of the old notes from a retail customer provided the customer has duly registered it on the CBN portal and secured a code for such deposit.”

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Economist and university lecturer, Dr Jonathan Onyeabor, says he believes the new adjustment is tailored to soothe frazzled nerves across the country and accommodate politicians who are already sponsoring protests to protect the old notes they stashed away believing that the CBN would be blackmailed into backing down on the February 10 deadline.

“I think, this seeming truce is in the interest of  who have been crying foul and sponsoring protests and attacks on Nigerian banks,” he said.

CBN Mops Up N1.6 trillion Currency In Just One Month

The new currency policy of the CBN has actually mopped up at least N1.6 trillion  as it implements its new naira policy. The Naira in circulation, according to CBN numbers, fell to as low as N1. 39 trillion in January 2023 – the lowest level in seven years, since December 2015.

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READ ALSO: Naira Policy: CBN Records N1.6 trillion Currency Mop-up In January Alone

The aggressive policy of phasing out old N200, N500 and N1000 notes and introducing limited new notes into circulation saw the apex bank mop up N1.6 trillion in January alone, according to data obtained from the CBN website.

CBN’S Conflicting Directives Worry CPPE

This comes as the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE) expressed concerns about the conflicting directives emanating from the CBN on where to deposit the old currency notes – whether the commercial banks, or Central bank.

In the course of the past week, thousands had besieged CBN’s regional offices moments after it announced it would be receiving the old notes from bank customers who missed the January 31 deadline and its extension to February 10.

“This confusion is inflicting additional pains on already traumatized millions of innocent Nigerians seeking to return the old notes,” CPPE’S CEO, Dr Muda Yusuf, said in an email to Prime Business Africa.

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“Amid the chaos which the badly implemented policy has created, it is evidently impractical for the CBN offices to properly handle this process of receiving old currency notes which are still in abundance in the hands of millions of Nigerians.  There is only one branch of the CBN office in each state of the federation and the FCT.  It is practically impossible for the CBN to manage this process without subjecting our citizens to another round of harrowing experience,” Yusuf argued.


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Uduegbunam Chukwujama
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