"I have given approval to the CBN that the old ₦200 bank notes be released back into circulation and that it should also be allowed to circulate as legal tender with the new ₦200, ₦500, and ₦1000 banknotes for 60 days from Feb. 10, 2023, to April 10 2023," Nigeria's President, Muhammadu Buhari, disclosed during a national broadcast on Thursday morning.
President Buhari's decision is aimed at cushioning the chaotic effect of the ongoing demonetisation process in the country. Although the nation's Supreme Court temporarily halted the process following a lawsuit by three governors from Northern Nigeria challenging the Naira redesign, businesses and individuals across the country have since started rejecting the old Naira notes—that ceased on Feb. 10, 2022. This is despite a nationwide scarcity of new notes.
"You can barely access the money here," a resident of a rural community in Benue state told Benjamindada.com. Last week, some media reports alleged that Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) told the National Council of State that the country does not have the capacity to print adequate new Naira notes. The CBN on Friday (Feb. 10, 2023) debunked this allegation.
"We wish to state categorically that at no time did the CBN Governor disclose this during his presentation to the National Council of State," Osita Nwanisobi, CBN's Director of Corporate Communications, said in a statement seen by Benjamindada.com. "We also wish to restate that the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) has the capacity and enough materials to produce the required indent of the Naira."
Amidst this scarcity, there have been protests and vandalisation of banks' physical assets because of the unsatisfied customers' queues inside banking halls and at ATMs across the country looking for new notes. In fact, CICO agents now charge 10x the fee for cash withdrawals, and they also do not receive old notes for deposits, as observed in Jos, North Central Nigeria.
How to deposit old Naira notes at the CBN
"In line with Section 20(3) of the CBN Act 2007, all existing old ₦1000 and ₦500 notes remain redeemable at the CBN and designated points," Buhari added.
The CBN has launched a portal for the redemption of old currency through a Cash Deposit Program. This means that, unlike the Cash Swap Program, individuals will not be issued new notes in exchange for old notes, instead your bank account will be credited after their accounts are validated by the bank and law enforcement agencies. Meanwhile, deposit notes will be returned to invalidated accounts.
This process, according to the CBN, may take up to four weeks.
Before proceeding to the CBN to partake in the cash deposit program, individuals are required to generate a reference code on the CBN cash return portal and also possess an active bank account, bank verification number and a valid national identity card.
The cash deposit window will be closed tomorrow, Friday, Feb. 16, 2023.