Despite the extension of the deadline for the exchange of old naira notes for the new designs of the Nigerian currency, there were big crowds and protracted lines at cash stations and banking rooms in key cities throughout Nigeria earlier in the week.
On Monday and Tuesday, our sources visited banks and ATM locations and found that Nigerians were still complaining about the lack of the new notes and the dysfunctional banking system.
While the lack of the new notes made it harder for many vendors to conduct cash transactions in local markets, poor network performance and other technical difficulties hindered online transactions at shops, eateries, and shopping centers in big cities.
After a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura, Katsina State, on Sunday, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, announced an extension of the deadline for accepting old naira notes as legal cash by ten days.
The news was made two days before the bank’s deadline for the phase-out of the old N200, N500, and N1,000 naira notes was set to expire.
The CBN had declared its intention to redesign, print, and distribute the new notes in October of last year. According to Mr. Emefiele, the redesign of the currency was done to address issues including terrorism, currency fraud, and managing the country’s money supply.
The old notes’ legal tender status expired on January 31, and the replacement banknotes entered circulation on December 15.
However, the development sparked contentious discussions among Nigerians as many bemoaned the lack of the new notes in circulation.
Many Nigerians anticipated that the commotion caused by the policy would be remedied and order would return to the banks with the extension of the deadline on Sunday.