Nigeria extends deadline for exchanging new banknotes to Feb. 10 amid cash problems

File – File image of the naira, the Nigerian currency. – Europa Press/Contacto/Yang Yang

The Central Bank of Nigeria has given the country’s population ten more days to exchange their old banknotes for the new denomination in view of the long queues registered in the exchange entities, and in the midst of the cash drought suffered by the country’s banks, which the Government hopes to solve with this measure.

Nigerians will now have until February 10 to exchange their old naira bills for these higher denomination bills, just a few weeks before the country goes to the polls for presidential and parliamentary elections.

The move by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is seen as a boost to encourage Nigerians to embrace digital payments in a society where cash is by far the most widely used transaction model.

According to Central Benco Governor Godwin Emefiele, more than 85 percent of currency in circulation is outside commercial banks.

Of the 3.2 trillion (with a «b») naira in circulation in October last year, only 500 billion was held by banks, reports ‘The Premium Times’. The remaining 2.7 trillion were held by individuals or companies.