Banks will accept old notes after deadline – Emefiele

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, informed the House of Representatives on Tuesday that commercial banks in Nigeria will continue to accept old naira bills from customers after the February 10 deadline.

Emefiele revealed this when testifying before the House’s ad hoc committee on the CBN naira redesign strategy, however, he did not specify how long expired notes would be accepted by banks.

Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila had accused the CBN governor of violating Section 20 of the CBN Act, which, according to him, requires commercial banks to accept outdated notes even after the deadline.

“After the expiration date, such naira notes changed will no longer be legal tender but it also says that even five months, three months, or two months after, even in June, all the old notes presented to the bank shall be redeemed by the bank,” Gbajabiamila had stated in a Thursday speech.

Emefiele, while addressing the ad hoc committee, said he agreed with the lawmakers on Section 20 of the CBN Act.

“Section 20 says even after the old currency has lost its legal tender status that we are mandated to collect that money. And I stand with the House of Reps on this,” he stated, adding that, “if you have your money that you have not been able to send to the bank. We will certainly give you the opportunity to bring them back into the CBN to redeem it. Either you pay it to your bank account or you want to do an exchange — we give you. You will not lose your money. This is the assurance I give to Nigerians.”

Emefiele apologized to the legislators for not responding to the prior summons, which was accepted by the chairman.

He argued that the policy should have been implemented several years earlier and that the CBN merely seized the chance to cashless-ize the economy. According to him, Nigerians will quickly see the policy’s benefits.

After the over an hour-long hearing, the chairman of the ad hoc committee, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, called for an executive (closed-door) session with committee members.

Later, the Majority Leader and members entered the chamber where plenary was in session.

The committee’s report was presented, discussed, and approved by the House.

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