The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has begun distribution of the newly redesigned Naira banknotes ahead of their scheduled entry into circulation on Thursday, December 15, 2022.
According to the Director of Foreign Exchange Operations of the CBN, Mr. Bello Umar, the distribution of the new banknotes began yesterday and is to the branches of the main bank throughout the country.
It followed that from there, the new notes, N200, N500 and N1,000, would be disbursed to commercial banks and other financial institutions.
However, he stressed that the January 31, 2023 deadline for the return of old bills will not be extended as some people anticipated, urging those who have the old bills to deposit them in their banks.
Mr. Umar emphasized that from February 1, 2023, the old N200, N500 and N1,000 will no longer be accepted as a means of financial transactions.
“Starting Thursday, we will begin distribution to CBN branches across the country. So whenever we are ready to launch, maybe at a later date, we already have the notes across the country,” he told reporters in Abuja.
On October 26, 2022, the central bank announced that it would change the appearance of higher value banknotes to deal with crime and inflation.
At a briefing to announce the Naira redesign, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele said most of the cash in circulation was not in bank vaults.
According to him, the bank was unable to account for around N2.7 trillion of the N3.2 trillion in circulation, stating that this forced the main bank to redesign the Naira.
Shortly after this announcement, videos of old Naira notes being hidden appeared online, prompting many people to congratulate the central bank on the move.
Last month, President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the new Naira notes and praised Emefiele and his team for taking the move.