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A new programme intended to increase the speed of circulation of the new banknotes and increase awareness ahead of next week’s deadline for demonetisation of the old notes kicks off nationwide today.
The initiative, known as cash swap, will provide an opportunity for Nigerians to swap old notes with new ones at super agents across the country. The intervention targets residents in rural areas and individuals with limited access to financial services.
The programme is a joint initiative of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), deposit money banks and super agents.
In a circular announcing the programme last Friday, the apex bank said the swap deal is an attempt to create more awareness about the deadline for phase-out of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes.
The launch of the programme is not unconnected with the challenges rural dwellers could face returning their old banknotes to banks between now and next Tuesday after which they will cease to be legal tenders.
The Senate has called for an extension of the deadline to the end of the first half of the year. Governors have also weighed in, seeking variations in CBN’s naira redesign policy.
In a survey some Nigerians also urged CBN to shift the deadline by another six months.
But the monetary authority said there is no compelling reason to extend it, saying there are multiple channels, including agents operating in rural areas, where Nigerians could return the banknotes.
CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, also argued that 100 days, from when the policy was announced till January 31, was enough window for Nigerians with legitimate cash in their homes to return same.