In its apparent to douse tension over the December 31, 2023 deadline for phasing out the old N1,000, N500, N200 notes, following the introduction of replacements in October 2022, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday reiterated its further directive that the old banknotes remain legal tender perpetually.
The statement by Isa AbdulMumin, spokesman and director of corporate communication at the CBN may have been necessitated by the lingering scarcity of the redesigned banknotes over fear that withdrawal of the old legal tenders could lead to another round of suffering by the people.
In the heat of the currency echange drama, Nigerians bought the notes from POS operators at a discount as much as 50% with the attendant inflationary consequence.
According to Tuesday’s statement, the CBN announced that without prejudice the extension of “the legal tender status deadline of the old design of N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations, ad infinitum.
“This is in line with international best practices and to forestall a repeat of earlier experiences.”
The statement thereby directed that all banknotes issued by it “in accordance with Section 20(5) of the CBN Act 2007, will continue to remain legal tender, ad infinitum, even beyond the initial December 31, 2023, deadline.”
Efforts, it said are being made “with the relevant authorities to vacate the subsisting court ruling on the same subject.
While directing all its branches across the country to continue issuing and accepting “all denominations of Nigerian banknotes, old and redesigned, to and from deposit money banks (DMBs), it urged the general public to continue accepting all Naira banknotes (old or redesigned) for day-to-day transactions and handle these banknotes with utmost care, to safeguard and protect the lifecycle of the banknotes. Also, the general public is encouraged to embrace alternative modes of payment, e-channels, for day-to-day transactions.