After initially ignoring pleas to extend the period for returning old naira banknotes, the Nigerian central bank recently said it has shifted the deadline for returning old banknotes to Feb. 10. The bank’s governor, Godwin Emefiele, said some 30,000 so-called super agents have been deployed nationwide to help with the cash-swapping process.
CBN Governor Says Currency Swapping Exercise Has Been a Success
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently said it had extended the deadline for returning the old naira banknotes by ten more days. In his Jan. 29 press statement, CBN governor Godwin Emefiele said while the exercise has been a success, shifting the deadline date from Jan. 31 to Feb. 10 helps the bank achieve success in rural communities.
The announcement follows weeks of pleas by residents who wanted to be granted more time to return the soon-to-be demonetized naira banknotes. The announcement of the extension also came just a few days after a Bitcoin.com News report suggested that some Nigerian banks were still distributing the old notes.
To ensure the CBN’s objectives are achieved before the old banknotes are removed from circulation, Emefiele said the central bank’s staff along with their counterparts from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) were mobilizing and monitoring the process. In addition, the governor said some 30,000 so-called super agents had been deployed nationwide to help with the cash-swapping process in regions underserved by banks.
CBN Targets Rural Communities
Commenting on the central bank’s success so far, Emefiele said:
We are happy that so far, the exercise has achieved a success rate of over 75% of the N2.7 trillion [$5.86 billion] held outside the banking system.
The governor also said it aimed to give residents with genuinely earned money an opportunity to deposit their legitimately trapped monies at the CBN for exchange.
Meanwhile, in his statement, Emefiele, who has been accused of funding terrorists, insisted the central bank’s goal is not only to enhance the effectiveness of its monetary policy but to aid Nigerian security agencies in their fight against bandits and kidnappers. By demonetizing the old banknotes, the CBN will be sticking to its mandate of redesigning its currency every five to eight years, Emefiele added.
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Terence Zimwara is a Zimbabwe award-winning journalist, author and writer. He has written extensively about the economic troubles of some African countries as well as how digital currencies can provide Africans with an escape route.
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