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Naira Redesign: Abuja Chamber seeks extension of deadline

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THE Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) has appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to extend the deadline for the expiration of some naira notes that the apex bank is redesigning and phasing out of circulation.

Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry official logo
Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry official logo

The CBN had on Wednesday, October 2 disclosed its plan to redesign the N200, N500 and N1000 naira notes citing concerns of “illicit” funds in circulation, which it said bandits and kidnappers had been exploiting in perpetrating their crimes.

The CBN said it would be introducing the redesigned notes into the financial system on December 15, 2022, and gave January 31, 2023 as the expiry date for legal tender of the notes being rested.

The president, ACCI, Al-Mujtaba Abubakar, who made the appeal for deadline extension in a statement he issued today in Abuja, urged the apex bank to reconsider the deadline.

Abubakar stressed that there had been positive and negative reactions from various industry stakeholders, but added that an extension would enable the government make the best from the policy.

“As a chamber, we recognise the advantages of this policy to include improvement in the integrity of the currency, curbing inflation, the efficiency of supply, and strengthening the strategy to conduct monetary policy, among others.

“However, we are not unaware of the cons of this policy on the national economy, specifically to the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs),” he said.

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He urged the apex bank to intensify public awareness campaign on the need for people and businesses to transit cash outside the banking system to the banks.

Abubakar explained that the sensitisation would allay the fears of Nigerians, deepen the buy-in of the citizenry, and build national support for the implementation process.

He added, “The chamber would also advise the CBN to provide financial and non-financial interventions (support) to cushion any likely negative impact this policy may have on businesses.”

The ACCI president also said that the CBN, working with other stakeholders in the financial services eco space, needed to sustain and aggressively pursue and expand financial inclusiveness to cover unbanked segments of the society.

“This can be achieved through new procedures that match the peculiarities of the informal economy.

“The banking establishments also has a duty to harmonise bank charges associated with cash deposits,” Abubakar said.

 

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Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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