Nigeria’s Central Bank hastily pushed for to replacement of the local currency notes with the newly designed ones and in the process created an anomaly in the economy as there was limited cash in circulation hurting many people and businesses across the West African nation.
The Central Bank of Nigeria did not just introduce the redesigned notes, it slammed new limits on large cash withdrawals to help recover about 85% of the total currency in circulation outside the banking system, insisting that the policy would help in the fight against money laundering and make digital payments the norm in Africa’s biggest economy, which has been largely driven by cash transactions.
The push to replace the old banknotes with new ones left very limited cash in circulation, causing frustration and anger for many people who spend hours at the banks attempting to withdraw their money and the possibility of theft for business-owners.
Did the newly designed denominations of 200 (43 U.S. cents), 500 ($1.08) and 1,000 naira ($2.17) being introduced together with limits on heavy withdrawals drive the anticipated financial inclusion in Africa’s biggest economy? Has it make it cashless as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said in November when they were introduced?
Now that the high charges by the Point of Sale (POS) operators are gone, limits of N1000 withdrawal are gone, and the mammoth crowds in banking halls and gates are gone, why didn’t the new notes stay with Nigerians as they suffered for it?