The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced its intention to extend the legal tender status of the old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknote denominations beyond the initial deadline of December 31, 2023. The decision is aimed at aligning with global best practices and preventing a repeat of earlier challenges. The CBN clarified that all banknotes issued by the CBN will continue to remain legal tender indefinitely, even beyond the initially set deadline.
The central bank is working with relevant authorities to vacate a subsisting court ruling on the matter. The redesign of the N200, N500, and N1,000 denominations was introduced by the CBN in October 2022, with various deadlines set for the retirement of the old design. However, economic challenges arising from the currency redesign program led to legal action by some state governors against the central bank.
Despite the court ruling and subsequent directions, the CBN emphasized that all its branches across the country will continue to issue and accept all denominations of Nigerian banknotes, both old and redesigned. The public is encouraged to accept all Naira banknotes for day-to-day transactions and handle them with care to protect the lifecycle of the banknotes. Additionally, the public is urged to adopt alternative modes of payment, such as electronic channels, for their daily transactions.
This extension of the legal tender status aims to provide more flexibility and prevent disruptions in financial transactions as the country transitions to the redesigned banknotes.