THE Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Godwin Emefiele has said about N1 trillion of the old notes has been returned to the banking system following the introduction of new naira notes.
Emefiele disclosed this while responding to questions from State House reporters after briefing President Muhammadu Buhari on developments in the Nigerian economy, in Daura, Katsina State.
The CBN had earlier announced that the new notes will be released for public use on December 15. The new notes will circulate alongside the old notes until January 31, 2023, when the old notes would cease to be legal tender.
The CBN on Tuesday, December 6, further issued a directive to commercial banks and financial institutions limiting withdrawals for individuals and corporate organisations to N100,000 and N500,000, respectively.
Addressing journalists in Daura, Emefiele said a lot of electronic channels had been put in place in 10 years since the cashless policy was launched in 2012 to aid people in conducting banking and financial service transactions in Nigeria.
He said the cashless policy was stepped down on a number of occasions to fully prepare for its implementation, to deepen payment system infrastructure in Nigeria.
“I can only just assure you that it will go round, let us just be calm. Luckily the old currency continued to be legal tender till January 31, 2023. So, I want to crack a joke, both the painted (new notes) and unpainted (old notes) will operate concurrently as a legal tender. But by January 31, the unpainted one will not be useful to you again, so please take it to your bank as quickly as possible,” he added.
Emefiele said “about N1 trillion” of the old notes had been returned to the banking system.
Reacting to the Senate’s opposition to the withdrawal limit, he said: “The Senate of the Federal Republic is National Assembly. They are the legislative arm of the government and from time to time, we brief them about what is happening and about our policies and I am aware that they have asked for some briefings and we will brief them.
“We heard people talking about some of the people in the rural areas and the truth is that even online banking, as I was coming out to Daura, I saw a kiosk that has a super agent today. It is because of the way we felt that there was a need for us to deepen the payment system infrastructure. We have 1.4 million super agents that are all over different parts of the country, all local governments, and all villages in this country.”
When asked to speak on the President’s response to his briefing, Emefiele said: “He was very very happy and said we should carry on our work, no need to fear, no need to bother about anybody.”
Nurudeen Akewushola is an investigative reporter and fact-checker with The ICIR. He believes courageous in-depth investigative reporting is the key to social justice, accountability and good governance in the society. You can shoot him a scoop via firstname.lastname@example.org and @NurudeenAkewus1 on Twitter.