Old naira notes will be phased out gradually – CBN

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) says plans to gradually phase out the old N200, N500, and N1,000 naira notes are ongoing, as new notes are still being issued.

Folashodun Shonubi, acting governor of the apex bank, spoke on Tuesday after the monetary policy committee (MPC) meeting at the CBN headquarters in Abuja.

In October 2022, Godwin Emefiele, former CBN governor, announced plans to redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 naira bills.

Emefiele had asked Nigerians to deposit their old notes before January 31, 2023, when they would cease to be legal tender.

The CBN later said Muhammadu Buhari, the former president, had approved an extension of the deadline for the demonetisaton of the old notes.

But 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 on Tuesday, Shonubi said the old notes would “slowly, and overtime be replaced”.

He noted that the old notes were being exchanged for the new ones whenever it was being requested by the commercial banks.

“When a currency is printed and sent out. It is expected that it will go through a number of cycles, and then over time, will become one and then be replaced. That’s what we’re doing,” Shonubi said.

“We had to put out or re-put out old notes. And as they’re coming in, they’re being processed and returned to us as not issuable. We are then bringing out and replacing them with the new notes.

“We believe that we have an optimal level of the currency out there and so much of what’s being done is replacement to keep the level, rather than just putting money out there.

“And that is seen by the fact that the banks, whenever they come to us for notes, we provide it to them. If it wasn’t enough, they will be asking us for more. If it was too much, they’ll be dumping that much more on us.

“So, we will slowly, and over time you will see the old notes replaced out of the system with the new notes that’ll be the norm.

“This will be out of practice, not fanfare, you’ll just see it slowly morph from old to new.”