Nigeria’s President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday gave approval to the central bank to extend the deadline to turn in some old banknotes until April 10 after cash shortages stoked anger before presidential and parliamentary elections later this month.
Last year, Nigeria’s central bank decided to start circulating newly designed 1,000 ($2.17) 500 ($1.08) and 200 ($0.43) naira notes. The deadline to turn in old notes has already been extended once to February 10, after which they would no longer have been legal tender.
But the new notes have been in short supply, leading to long queues and chaotic scenes at banks across the country. Most of Nigeria’s economy is still informal and many people use cash for transactions because they do not have bank accounts.
Buhari said in a television broadcast that old 200-naira notes would continue to circulate in the economy alongside new 1,000, 500 and 200 notes until April 10.
But the old 1,000 and 500 notes could only be swapped at the central bank and “designated points”, he said.
The comments contrasted with last week’s Supreme Court interim ruling that said all old notes remain legal tender until it hears a challenge brought by some state governments.
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