President Tinubu extends deadline for use of old naira notes

Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has decided to extend the validity of the old naira notes to December 31, 2024, following the recommendations of his policy advisory council. The council, chaired by Senator Tokunbo Abiru, suggested that the federal government should consider the current economic realities and implement a gradual phase-out of the old currency notes on a monthly basis.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had introduced a redesigned naira in November 2022 and initially set a February 10, 2023 deadline for the phasing out of the old notes. However, due to public outcry and legal challenges, the deadline was extended several times. The Supreme Court had ruled on March 3, 2023 that the old N200, N500, and N1000 notes should remain as legal tender until December 31, 2023.

President Tinubu, who had expressed reservations about the naira redesign policy in principle, said in his inaugural speech on May 29, 2023 that he would revisit the demonetisation policy of the CBN. He said the currency swap was too harshly applied by the apex bank and that he would consult with his policy advisory council on the best way forward.

The council’s report, which was released on June 15, 2023, also set ambitious goals for the Tinubu administration, including doubling the country’s economy to $1 trillion, achieving a 7% average annual GDP growth rate, lifting 100 million people out of poverty, and creating an enabling environment to generate over 50 million jobs. The report also revealed Tinubu’s stance on the abolition of multiple exchange rate windows, a move that was recently implemented by the CBN on June 14, 2023.

The council’s recommendations are expected to have a significant impact on the president’s decision-making process in the coming years.

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