The central bank of Nigeria announced on the 26th of October 2022, its plan to change the current naira notes – specifically, the N200, N500, and N1000 notes. The governor of the Apex bank, Mr. Godwin Emefiele announced that the new notes will be in circulation from the 15th of December 2022, while the old naira notes will remain eligible for use till the 31st of January, 2023.
Here, we share all you need to know about the naira note change – why it’s happening and how it could affect you.
What are the reasons for the change?
According to the CBN governor, the change is necessary to reduce the amount of money in circulation and curb inflation.
“Evidently, currency in circulation has more than doubled since 2015; rising from N1.46 trillion in December 2015 to N3.23 trillion in September 2022. This is a worrisome trend that cannot be allowed to continue,” Emefiele said.
He also cited counterfeiting, shortage of clean and crisp banknotes, and money hoarding as other reasons for the development.
Lastly, global best practices necessitate the redesign of currency notes in a cycle of 5 – 8 years. The naira notes have not been redesigned for over 10 years, making this initiative timely and expedient. To put this in perspective, we highlight the history of the evolution of the naira below:
1973: The Nigerian currency previously called ”pound” became officially known as ”naira”.
1977: The N20 banknote was introduced and became the highest available currency note.
1979: The one naira, five naira, and ten naira banknotes were officially introduced in 3 distinct colours.
1984: All the existing bank notes were redesigned except the 50 kobo note.
1999: 15 years after the previous currency change, the N100 naira note was introduced.
2000 – 2005: Higher currency denominations – N200, N500, and N1000 were introduced in year 2000, 2001, and 2005 respectively.
2007: The N20 banknote was introduced in polymer form. The N5, N10, and N50 naira notes were issued in new designs.
2009: The newly designed N5, N10, and N50 naira notes were reintroduced in polymer.
2010: To commemorate Nigeria’s 50th anniversary, a new N50 note was released.
2014: A redesigned N100 note was introduced.
When does this change in currency take effect?
The new naira notes are scheduled for release on the 15th of December, 2022. However, both the old and notes will remain in use till the 31st of January when the former will cease to be accepted as legal tender.
What are Nigerians saying?
The announcement was met with mixed feelings of surprise, indifference, and enthusiasm. As seen on Twitter:
What do you need to do?
As the CBN has mandated, take all N200, N500, and N1000 naira notes in your possession to the bank for deposit. However, note that you will NOT be able to get the new naira notes for exchange until the 15th of December when the Central bank makes them accessible to the public.
The good news is that bank charges for cash deposits are currently suspended due to this initiative, making it convenient for you to pay large sums of money with zero fees.
Could this affect my business?
To avoid possible issues that might put you at a disadvantage, take note of the following:
- If you have a business that accepts cash as means of payment, remember to STOP accepting the old currency notes from the 31st of January 2023.
- Remit all old currency in your possession BEFORE the deadline of January 31st to avoid the delay and inconvenience that will arise from crowds and queues at the banks.
- Be on the lookout for scammers who may attempt to make bulk purchases with fake naira notes as payment. Inspect naira notes meticulously to avoid falling victim.
- Minimize the acceptance of cash and prioritize other payment options like bank transfers or the use of POS for card payments.
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