Dec.31 deadline: Expert worries over non availability of new Naira notes

naira notes

Naira notes

By Cecilia Ijuo

Mr Gabriel Okeowo, the Country Director, BudgiT Foundation Nigeria, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) has expressed concern over the non-availability of the redesigned Naira notes.

Okeowo expressed his worries in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Sunday.

He said with six months to deadline for the use of old notes, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) ought to have released more new notes, while gradually mopping up old notes.

The country director said he was yet to understand the rationale behind allowing more old notes in circulation when the deadline for its use was closing in.

According to him, if the CBN continues to release old notes rather than new notes, it will be difficult to mop up the old notes before Dec. 31.

Okeowo said besides the need for availability of the redesigned notes, there was an urgent need for an overhaul of bank Internet infrastructure for effective implementation of the cashless policy.

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“If what is in circulation right now are the old Naira notes, it then means even the new Naira notes are not available.

“Also, as we speak, the queues have not completely gone, electronic transactions still decline and money not reversed within 24 hours in most cases.

“Furthermore, the internet infrastructure is not advanced enough for effective electronic transactions.

“If all of these are not put in place, I see a possibility of the extension of deadline for use of old Naira notes beyond Dec. 31,” he said.

The Supreme Court on March 3, ruled that all old denominations including N500 and N1,000 notes remained valid till Dec. 31.

The ruling followed the hardship experienced by Nigerians as a result of the Naira redesign and cashless policy of the CBN, which took effect from Jan. 31.

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