N1 trillion retrieved after CBN’s redesign of naira notes — Emefiele

The Central Bank of Nigeria says it has retrieved more than N1 trillion since its launch of new naira notes in a bid to move cash back into the banking system.

The bank on November 26 unveiled new 200, 500, and 1000 naira bills ahead of a December 15 launch date. One of its reasons was the massive hoarding of banknotes with over 85 percent of currency in circulation outside the banks’ vaults.

“To be more specific, as at the end of September 2022, available data at the CBN indicate that N2.73 Trillion out of the N3.23 trillion currency in circulation, was outside the vaults of commercial banks across the country; and supposedly held by the public,” Mr Emefiele said at the time.

“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” he said at the time.

Speaking with journalists on Thursday after meeting President Muhammadu Buhari in Daura, Katsina State, Mr Emefiele said the central bank has retrieved more than N1 trillion and the banks also hold nearly N1 trillion.

“The central bank, we have taken more than a trillion and in the bank we also have close to a trillion. But what we have done in the central bank is to move more people from different departments into currency processing so that they can process this cash as quickly as possible and from there, banks can now move what they have with them,” he said.

Mr Emefiele said banks received the new notes on Wednesday and have started dispensing them.

“We are more than prepared because I said December 15 when we announced it, we said December 15 is when we will issue the cash but we have to move it forward; the president launched it on November 26 instead of December 15.

“And I just told you now that yesterday, the banks have received the new cash and they have started dispensing them. I can only just assure you that it will go round, let us just be calm, luckily the old currency continues to be legal tender till January 31, 2023.

“So, I want to crack a joke, both the painted (new notes) and unpainted (old notes) will operate concurrently as a legal tender. But by January 31, the unpainted one will not be useful to you again, so please take it to your bank as quickly as possible.”

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