THE Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has started counting down to the January 31 deadline when the old N1,000, N500, and N200 notes would stop being accepted as legal cash despite complaints that the new naira notes are not yet fully in circulation.
The apex bank revealed the countdown on its website on Friday and announced that the remaining time is now 24 days and a few hours.
According to the CBN, the current series of N200, N500, and N1,000 notes will be valid until January 31, 2023.
The CBN has received criticism from Nigerians for insisting on the deadline without making enough notes available as the countdown has progressed.
A Twitter user named Edidiong Enwe responded to the bank’s countdown by saying: Till today I haven’t had any new notes. Quite okay I’ve seen just 1000 notes with someone. I’m staying in a student area where we expect quick circulation of money. How then do you give 3 weeks countdown? Do something about it before you start a countdown”.
Benedict Nwokoye, another tweep, bemoaned the lack of availability of the new notes and questioned how it would be feasible to gradually phase them out on January 31.
“Like seriously?” he exclaimed. “I went to withdraw money from the ATM and was given old notes. I went to the counter to ask for the new notes, I was told I’ll not be given more than 10,000.00. How can the dates be possible when banks are still dispensing old notes?”
A Twitter user going by the handle Mr. A responded to the CBN’s countdown by asking: “How will the old notes be stopped in 24 days? Some of us haven’t even set our eyes on them and yet they’re in circulation.”
According to Eddie Onos, the CBN has not taken the deadline seriously. “Can we please have a meaningful discussion for a change? ATMs and banks are still issuing old notes as of right now, even though they are meant to stop being legal money by the 31st of this month. By now, the financial institutions should have stopped issuing them,” he said.
The CBN was persuaded by the Nigerian Senate last month to push up the deadline for the withdrawal of old naira notes from January 31 to June 30, 2023.
Senator Ali Ndume cited Orders 41 and 51 to seek the leave of the Senate to move a motion on the urgent need to extend the withdrawal of old currency from circulation.
Senator Uzor Kalu also urged the CBN to extend the deadline “as far as April ending to enable individuals to deposit their monies in banks.”
However, with the countdown starting today, it appears that the CBN is not heeding the National Assembly’s request.

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