The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has instructed commercial banks to immediately collect the old naira notes they deposited in its branches and begin dispensing same to its customers to ease the cash crunch across the country.
Previously, the apex bank had mopped up the old N1, 000, N500, and N200 notes in response to the introduction of new ones as part of the cashless policy of the federal government.
However, at the height of pressure from various stakeholders for the CBN to relax its stance on the cashless policy to ease the pains Nigerians are going through, CBN governor Godwin Emefiele had claimed that all the old notes withdrawn from circulation had been destroyed.
On March 3, the Supreme Court ruled that the old notes should be released and that it remains valid till December 2023. Despite the ruling, the notes have remained scarce. On Wednesday, March 22, the Nigeria Labour Congress directed all workers to picket all branches of the CBN starting from next week over the current scarcity of the Naira notes across the country.
Sources in the banking sector say the apex bank has now directed the commercial banks to go to its branches and pick up the old cash to dispense same to customers.