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CBN will not extend Jan 31 deadline for phasing out old naira notes, says Emefiele

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Tuesday said it will not extend the deadline for the replacement of the old currency notes for the newly redesigned naira notes beyond the January 31, deadline.

According to the Governor of the regulatory bank, the motive behind redesigning the nation’s currency was to ensure that currency outside the banking system is returned to the system.

Emefiele, who spoke at a media conference after the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja insisted that enough time had been given to Nigerians to swap their old naira notes for new ones.

“We called on the deposit money banks (DMBs) to extend their working hours, and to work on weekends,” he said.

“There is no reason to talk about a shift. The new currencies are available,” the regulatory bank chief told journalists at the headquarter of the bank on Tuesday.

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Emefiele said the CBN had mandated banks to load their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) with the new notes to enable customers to have access to the new banknotes.

“We have increased disbursement of the new notes to them. There is adequate quantity of new notes available. Our mint is producing and we are supplying the banks,” the governor said.

“We have super agents in underserved areas like riverine communities, and CBN staff members have been out on mobilisation. We believe that by January 31, the new naira notes would have permeated the nooks and crannies of the country,” the CBN governor said.

However, our correspondents went round some banks in Lagos and Ogun state on Tuesday; they were unable to withdraw new notes across the counter as they were directed by the cashiers to patronise the ATMs outside.

There were long queues around the few ATMs dispensing new naira to customers while the majority of ATMs were out of cash at 3;30 pm.

~Samuel Bankole

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