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Nigeria's Buhari Extends Banknotes Deadline by 60 Days

FILE - Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari looks at a sample of the new N1,000 note, November 23, 2022.

Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday said he gave approval to the central bank to extend the deadline to turn in old banknotes to April 10.

Buhari’s approval comes after the West African nation’s Supreme Court last week suspended a previous deadline of February 10, after the International Monetary Fund flagged disruptions to trade and payments.

The central bank last year began circulating newly designed 200, 500 and 1,000-naira notes, with an initial deadline of Jan 31 to turn in the old notes, after which they would no longer be a legal tender.

In a statement released Thursday, which was published across several Nigerian news outlets, among them Punch Newspapers, the West African nation’s outgoing president said he consulted several stake holders who helped him reach his decision to extend the deadline.

“During the extended phase of the deadline for currency swap, I listened to invaluable pieces of advice from well meaning citizens and institutions across the nation,” read Buhari’s statement.

“I similarly consulted widely with representatives of the State Governors as well as the Council of State. Above all, as an administration that respects the rule of law, I have also noted that the subject matter is before the courts of our land and some pronouncements have been made,” added his statement.

Buhari added that the April 10 extension is to ease the pressure on citizens.

“To further ease the supply pressures particularly to our citizens, I have given approval to the CBN that the old N200 bank notes be released back into circulation and that it should also be allowed to circulate as a legal tender with the new N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes for 60 days from February 10, 2023 to April 10, 2023 when the old N200 notes ceases to be a tender,” read his statement.

Shuaibu Idris Mikati, a Lagos-based financial and management consultant said if left unaddressed, the currency crisis would have an impact on the West African nation’s upcoming presidential elections.

“The challenges of cash being faced by Nigerians will most certainly have an impact and will affect the presidential elections if it is not resolved before the 25th of February when the elections will take place,” said Mikati.

'Currency Crisis Could Impact Feb 25 Polls': Nigerian Analyst
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VOA’s James Butty contributed to this report. Some information was sourced from Punch News and Reuters.