The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reportedly extended the deadline for exchanging old banknotes for new ones.
Apparently, long queues have formed at some banks as Nigerians scrambled to reach the closing date of Tuesday.
Atiku Abubakar, the opposition candidate for the presidency, and Nigerian legislators had urged the central bank to postpone the January 31 deadline. According to the latter, a prolongation would aid in lowering the financial implications for citizens.
The updated deadline for making the exchange is now February 10th.
It has been reported that Nigerians would have an additional seven days after the deadline of February 10 to deposit old currencies with the CBN.
The bank governor claimed that the revised deadline of February 10 will make it easier for individuals to swap their old bills in rural regions, where there are not many bank branches.
As per reports, analysts have harshly criticized the redesign of the larger denomination naira banknotes, claiming that six weeks is not a sufficient time for the most populated country in Africa to phase out the old banknotes.
This takes place a few weeks before the nation's parliamentary and presidential elections.
According to local media, there are insufficient amounts of the new notes in use, and customers are not able to withdraw them from banks.
Apparently, this Central Bank of Nigeria's move is seen as a drive to encourage Nigerians to adopt digital payments in a country where cash rules.
It anticipates that the exchange will help some of the money that businesses and people have been holding back into the financial system.
The bank stated that 80% of the bills in circulation were outside banks when it revealed in October that the 1,000 ($2.18), 500 ($1.08), and 200 ($0.43) naira notes would be replaced.
The CBN thinks that with the new currency, it will gain better awareness of the money moving around the economy while controlling inflation more effectively.
Source credit: https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-64444896