The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revealed that it is still expecting N2.56 trillion out of the N2.73 trillion outside banks’ vaults as the January 31 deadline for depositing old notes nears.
As at the end of September, N3.23 trillion was in circulation but N2.73 trillion (85 percent) was outside the vaults of commercial banks and only N165 billion had been returned to the banks, according to the CBN.
“Out of the N3.2 trillion currently in circulation, as at November 18, only N165 billion has been received which is small; especially as a lot of concessions have been made to ease the deposits,” Ahmed Bello Umar, director, currency operations at the CBN, told journalists in Abuja on Wednesday.
He said the bank had hoped that 80 percent of the total money in circulation would be returned to the banks or at least 40 percent or on the average 60 percent of it would be returned.
“From the deposit we have received now, 95 percent is in N1000 and N500 denominations averaging N86 billion and N51 billion respectively while N200 is N7 billion,” he said.
He said the new notes, unveiled on Wednesday, would be distributed across the CBN networks starting from Thursday (today) to reduce possible challenges when it is time for them to be launched.
Umar said the law provides that the naira redesign should have three months’ notice, which was adhered to, adding that the January 31 deadline will not be reviewed.
He said to combat hoarding of the new currency, the circulation of higher denominations will reduce.
“We want to drive cashless policy and reduce the cost of currency management because we have to carry this money across the 37 branches we have,” he said.
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