Banks will continue to accept the old naira notes even after the deadline for swapping with the newly-designed currency notes, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor Godwin Emefiele has said.
The apex bank recently extended the deadline for the swap of the newly-designed N1,000, N500, and N200 notes following an outcry from Nigerians.
But while appearing before the House of Representatives committee on the new naira redesign and swap policy Tuesday, the CBN chief said banks will still accept the old notes after the deadline.
He said subject to Section 20, Subsection 3 of the CBN Act 2007 and even after the old currencies have lost legal tender status, the CBN will continue to accept the old notes.
The CBN chief who had earlier failed to honour the House’s invitations explained to the lawmakers that he was out of the country.
Speaking about the redesign of the naira, he said CBN’s actions were in line with international best practices and the apex bank has to be in control of the currency in circulation.
Mr. Emefiele said in 2015, N1.4 trillion was in circulation, and by last year it had risen to N3.33 trillion.
He explained that the reason for directing banks to ensure only ATM withdrawals was to limit the daily withdrawal of individuals.
The CBN boss decried the trend of the new notes being sighted at parties and stated he was in meetings with commercial banks to mitigate it.
The 61-year-old agreed that the policies would hurt some persons but claimed it was in the interest of the country especially in combating insecurity.
He, therefore, appealed to lawmakers to allow the programme to succeed.
Emefiele had failed to appear before the lawmakers despite initial requests detailing in a series of letters that he was in the United States on an important assignment.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, would go on to state that he would not hesitate to ask the Inspector General of Police, Usman Baba Alkali, to issue an arrest warrant on Emiefele to compel him to appear before the House.
In November, the apex bank fixed the 31 January deadline for the usage of the old notes.
However, the scarcity of the new notes forced the House to set up an ad-hoc committee to resolve the difficulties between the CBN and commercial banks, despite the insistence of Emefiele that many of the banks were hoarding the notes.