The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced it will allow the old N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes to remain legal tender indefinitely. This reverses its previous decision to demonetize the old notes by December 31, 2023.
The CBN cited its desire to align with international best practices and avoid repeating past challenges as the rationale for the policy change.
In a statement, CBN Director of Corporate Communications Isa Abdulmumin said all CBN-issued banknotes, per Section 20(5) of the CBN Act of 2007, will continue to be legal tender with no expiration date.
The CBN is working with relevant authorities to overturn the Supreme Court ruling that set the December 2023 deadline for the old notes. It encourages Nigerians to continue using both old and new notes freely.
This indefinite extension provides relief to Nigerians after earlier CBN mandates created confusion and cash shortages this year. The policy aims to smooth transactions and daily use of all denominations.
CBN introduced redesigned 200, 500, and 1000 notes in October 2022 to control currency circulation. The old notes were originally demonetized on January 31, 2023, before an extension to February 10.
Several states challenged the deadline, leading to a Supreme Court ruling setting December 31, 2023, as the last day for the old notes. This CBN announcement effectively voids that expiration date.
Stakeholders praise the CBN’s decisive move to avert potential disruption. All banks will continue issuing old notes per CBN guidance.
Experts recommend using electronic payments when possible. However, all Nigerians should feel comfortable continuing to use old banknotes for now. The CBN promises to preserve the lifecycle of all naira denominations.