President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to release old N200 notes into circulation to co-exist with new N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes for 60 days. He, however, said old N500 and N1,000 banknotes are no longer legal tender in Nigeria.
The President, who made this known in a nationwide broadcast on Thursday, directed the CBN to allow the new notes available to all citizens. The President apologised to Nigerians over the difficulty experienced in the implementation of the naira redesign policy. “To further ease the supply pressure, particularly on our citizens, I have given approval to the CBN that the old N200 bank notes be released back into circulation and it should also be allowed to circulate as legal tender with the new N200, N500 and N1,000 bank notes for 60 days from February 10, 2023 to April 10, 2023 when the old N200 note ceases to be legal tender,” he said.
The President lamented that the currency in circulation grew from N1.4 trillion in 2015 when he assumed office to N3.23 trillion at the end of 2022. He, however, said N2.1 trillion of the cash in circulation have been retrieved since the launch of the naira redesign policy of the Federal Government on October 26, 2022. “The proportion of currency outside banks grew from 78%in 2015 to 85% in 2022. As of October 2022, therefore, currency in circulation had risen to N3.23 trillion; out of which only N500 billion was within the Banking System while N2.7 trillion remained permanently outside the system; thereby distorting the financial policy and efficient management of inflation;
“The huge volume of Bank Notes outside the banking system has proven to be practically unavailable for economic activities and by implication, retard the attainment of potential economic growth,” he said. “I have been reliably informed that since the commencement of this program, about N2.1 trillion out of the banknotes previously held outside the banking system, had been successfully retrieved.
“This represents about 80% of such funds. In the short to medium and long terms.”
The President had on February 3 appealed to Nigerians to give him seven days to resolve the cash crunch after the Nigeria Governors’ Forum urged him to allow all old notes to circulate in the system to ease the hardship on ordinary Nigerians. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had extended the deadline for the swap of old N200, N500, and N1,000 from January 31 to February 10 following complaints by many Nigerians but the Supreme Court held that the Federal Government, the CBN, commercial banks must not continue with the deadline pending the determination of a notice in respect of the issue.