Nigeria’s central bank extended a deadline for the expiration of higher denomination naira notes to February 10 after long queues developed at banks and commercial activities almost came to a halt for lack of the new currency.
The extension will give “all Nigerians that have naira legitimately earned” the opportunity to return them to banks, Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele said Sunday in an emailed statement.
Africa’s most-populous nation started issuing redesigned 200-, 500-, and 1,000-naira notes in mid-December to mop up excess cash sitting outside the banking system. The existing notes of the same denomination were to cease to be legal tender from January 31.
The central bank said the currency swap has so far resulted in the mobilization of 1.9 trillion naira ($4.1 billion) into banking vaults. After the February 10 deadline, Nigerians will have a 7-day grace period to return the old higher denominations directly to the central bank.