Cash Scarcity: CBN releases old notes, directs banks to operate Saturday, Sunday

The Central Bank of Nigeria has begun reissuance of old currencies it withdrew from circulation in February and has ordered commercial banks to open for business on Saturdays and Sundays to accelerate the process.

This is part of its efforts to end the lingering cash shortage that has continued to make life difficult for Nigerians.

In a statement posted on its official Twitter page on Friday, the apex bank announced that it had released banknotes from its vaults to commercial banks all over the nation and instructed them to load their Automated Teller Machines (ATM) and carry out physical operations all weekend long.

“The Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department of the CBN, Dr. Isa AbdulMumin, disclosed this in Abuja on Friday, March 24, 2023, stating that a substantial amount of money, in various denominations had been received by the commercial banks for onward circulation to their respective customers,” the statement read.

The apex bank also directed all banks to load their Automated Teller Machines, adding that Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele would personally lead teams to monitor the level of compliance by the banks in various locations across the country.

The instructions come just a few days after the Nigerian Labour Congress threatened to picket apex bank locations over the persistent cash shortage that was making life in Nigeria very difficult.

The Supreme Court ruled earlier this month that all old notes will remain legal tender until December 31, 2023, thereby invalidating the Naira redesign policy that phased out the usage of the old N500 and N1000 notes.