(Bloomberg) --

Nigeria’s central bank extended a deadline for the expiration of higher denomination naira notes to Feb. 10 after long queues developed at banks and commercial activities almost came to a halt for lack of the new currency. 

The extension will give “all Nigerians that have naira legitimately earned” the opportunity to return them to banks, Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele said Sunday in an emailed statement.

Africa’s most-populous nation started issuing redesigned 200-, 500-, and 1,000-naira notes in mid-December to mop up excess cash sitting outside the banking system. The existing notes of the same denomination were to cease to be legal tender from Jan. 31. 

Nigerians Looking for New Naira Queue Up at Only ATM That Has It

The central bank said the currency swap has so far resulted in the mobilization of 1.9 trillion naira ($4.1 billion) into banking vaults. After the Feb. 10 deadline, Nigerians will have a 7-day grace period to return the old higher denominations directly to the central bank.


©2023 Bloomberg L.P.