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Old N500, N1000 banknotes no longer legal tender in Nigeria –Buhari

*President Muhammadu Buhari in a nationwide address to Nigerians on the country’s Naira policy Thursday morning, declares ‘in line with Section 20(3) of the CBN Act 2007, all existing old N1000 and N500 notes remain redeemable at the CBN and designated points’

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the old N500 and N1,000 banknotes are no longer legal tender in Nigeria.

Amid the confusing atmosphere in the country’s financial ecosystem, President Buhari morning Thursday, February 16, 2023, during his nationwide address to Nigerians also, apologised to Nigerian consumers over the difficulties being experienced in accessing both the old and redesigned Naira notes in the economy.

President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR

Buhari, however, said that the old N200 notes would be legal tender for the next 60 days, specifically till April 10, 2022.

Affirmation of CBN’s position on legality of old N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes

ConsumerConnect had reported that Mr. Godwin Emefiele, Governor of CBN, Tuesday, February 14, 2023, in Abuja, had informed the members of the diplomatic corps, that the N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes had ceased to be legal tender in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Emefiele shed more light on how the CBN earlier received the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari 26 October 26, 2022, to redesign and distribute the N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes.

The CBN Chief clarified in his briefing to the diplomatic and consumlar mission that “by the approval, the redesigned banknotes were to circulate concurrently with the old notes, up to 31 January, 2023 after which the old notes were to lose their legal tender status.

“However, given the need to improve the level of circulation of the new notes, the President magnanimously extended the deadline by another 10 days to 10 February 2023 for old notes to circulate as legal tender.”

In regard to currency management in the country, Emefiele clarified this is a key function of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as enshrined in Section 2(b) of the CBN Act 2007.

“Indeed, the integrity of a local legal tender, the efficiency of its supply, as well as its efficacy in the conduct of monetary policy are some of the hallmarks of a great Central Bank,” he said.

He explained that due to persistent challenges that are inundating currency management in Nigeria and undermining our sovereign integrity, the CBN conducted extensive inhouse analysis and consultation suggesting the need for a policy to redesign some Nigerian banknotes.

The CBN Governor stated that the currency redesign policy is also consistent with Sections 20(3), which gives the Bank the power to recall extant banknotes or coins following the approval of the President and a reasonable notice period.

“Our actions, thus, falls squarely within the bounds of the powers provided by the Act, as we sought and got Presidential approval and gave 100 days’ notice in the first instance, which was later extended by another 10 days,” he stressed.

Buhari’s re-assurance to Nigerian consumers on strengthening economy

Meanwhile, the Preisdent has implored Nigerians to deposit their old N500 and 1000 notes with the CBN.

Buhari stated: “Let me re-assure Nigerians, that strengthening our economy, enhancing security and blockage of leakages associated with illicit financial flows remain top priority of our administration.

“And I shall remain committed to my oath of protecting and advancing the interest of Nigerians and the nation, at all times,” stated he.

Buhari also eexplained “In the last quarter of 2022, I authorised the Central Bank of Nigeria to redesign the N200, N500, and N1000 Nigerian banknotes.

“For a smooth transition, I similarly approved that the redesigned banknotes should circulate concurrently with the old bank notes, till 31 January 2023, before the old notes, cease to be legal tender.”

He further said: “During the extended phase of the deadline for currency swap, (from January 31 till February 10), I listened to invaluable pieces of advice from well-meaning citizens and institutions across the nation.

“I similarly consulted widely with representatives of the State Governors as well as the Council of State. Above all, as an administration that respects the rule of law, I have also noted that the subject matter is before the courts of our land and some pronouncements have been made.”

According to him, “to further ease the supply pressures particularly to our citizens, I have given approval to the CBN that the old N200 banknotes be released back into circulation and that it should also be allowed to circulate as legal tender with the new N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes for 60 days from February 10, 2023 to April 10 2023 when the old N200 notes ceases to be legal tender.”

Buhari said: “In line with Section 20(3) of the CBN Act 2007, all existing old N1000 and N500 notes remain redeemable at the CBN and designated points.

“I admonish every citizen to strive harder to make their deposits by taking advantage of the platforms and windows being provided by the CBN.”

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