Why are the new naira notes scarce?

Feb 17, 2023|Yomi Ajayi

Key questions this article answers:

  1. The CBN initially gave Nigerians three months to swap their old naira notes for new ones. Given we had already seen how this short time frame could disrupt India in 2016, was Nigeria’s outcome going to be any different? 

  2. As many Nigerians spend most of their time queuing for fuel or cash, what could be the implications of these lost labour-hours?

Nigerians are going through unprecedented levels of suffering. Amid lingering fuel scarcity and epileptic power supply, the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) naira redesign policy and the accompanying cash crunch have thrown major parts of the country into chaos.

We all recall that in October 2022, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele announced the redesign of ₦200, ₦500, and ₦1,000 notes.

His aim? To mop up about ₦2.7 trillion—over 80% of the total currency in circulation (₦3.2 trillion).

However, given the short time frame and sheer size (over 60% of total GDP) of the informal sector (which is largely cash-based), our Head of Insights, Fadekemi, correctly predicted the chaos that has ensued.

We saw it happen in India in 2016, and Nigeria is no different.

With an initial January 31st deadline (extended to February 10th, but Supreme Court said otherwise), the CBN had given Nigerians three months to swap their old for new naira notes.

The short time frame sent anxious Nigerians

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