The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced that old banknotes will continue to be legal tender until the end of the year to comply with a court order issued earlier this month. The move has raised hopes that it will ease the acute cash shortages that have plagued the economy.
The Supreme Court ordered the CBN to extend the use of old 1,000 ($2.17), 500, and 200 naira notes until December 31, after their initial withdrawal from circulation became a hotly debated issue in the lead-up to the recent elections. The decision caused widespread hardship and anger among the Nigerian population.
In compliance with the court order, the CBN has stated that old notes will circulate alongside new ones of equivalent value. President Muhammadu Buhari’s office also issued a statement on Monday, confirming that he did not urge the CBN to ignore the court order.
Cash is the primary mode of transaction in Nigeria, where most people rely on it for everything from buying food to paying taxi fares. The shortage of naira notes has caused significant frustration among citizens, some of whom have resorted to attacking banks and burning cash-dispensing machines. The decision to extend the use of old notes is expected to help alleviate some of these issues.
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