President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday launched the redesigned 200-, 500- and 1,000-naira notes at the Council Chambers of the State House shortly before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting.
This is coming a few weeks after the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, disclosed plans, backed by the President, to redesign the currency notes.
In his speech, President Buhari said the redesigning of the naira notes would not only help the country to address the issue of illicit financial flows and corruption but also improve the economy and the value of the naira. He also appealed to Nigerians to embrace the new policy to redesign the notes.
Following the unveiling, the new notes begin circulation today, and not 15 December, as earlier proposed.
While speaking, the CBN governor maintained that the new and old notes shall remain legal tender until 31 January 2023, adding that the apex bank will not extend the deadline.
Meanwhile, Emefiele in his media briefing at the monetary policy communique held on Tuesday announced plans to reduce the volume of N500 and N1000 notes in circulation ‘over time’.
The governor explained that the effort was aimed at curbing the inflation rate, which he partly blamed on the higher-denominated naira notes.
“In the UK they have a denomination of 50 pounds but the most spent denomination is 20 pounds. Nobody spends 50 pounds. If you go around carrying 50 pounds in the UK, they will suspect, report you in fact,” he said.
“The reverse is what is happening in Nigeria. Nigerians want to carry N500 and N1000. And in fact, we are beginning to think that increasing the high denomination is also part of what is fueling inflation. So in fact, yes we will launch N200, N500, and N1000 and over time we will reduce the volume of N500 and N1000 in circulation. Let people carry N50 around.
“If you want to do high-value transactions, embrace online, embrace our agency program, embrace our mobile banking program, that is what you need.”
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