It came as a surprise when the Central Bank announced its plan to redesign the 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes.
Its main reasons for this were the bulk of currencies in circulation being outside the banking sector’s vaults, counterfeiting and insecurity.
The currencies have now been unveiled by the president and while some feel it is a necessary step, others say it is ill timed and should have been introduced earlier.
The apex bank’s plan to redesign the 200,500 and 1000 naira notes is to primarily mop up and have better control over funds in circulation.
The apex bank says though three point two trillion naira is currently in circulation, two point seven trillion representing eighty five percent of the total amount is outside the banking system.
The redesign initiative is now to help control inflation, fight counterfeiting, and fight kidnapping by way of stopping cash payments for ransom as well.
The new notes have now been unveiled by the President and the most striking thing about their new identity is the colour as the three notes still have the same design.
The one thousand naira note for example is now blue, the five hundred naira green and the two hundred naira a pinkish red colour.
Though some are in support of the apex bank’s decision others say the printing cost will put an avoidable financial strain on the country’s scarce resources.
They also think it is ill-timed as it should have been done earlier and not at this time when the elections are close.
Shortly after the apex bank’s announcement of the naira redesign, the naira saw a free fall to an all time low of around nine hundred naira to a dollar.
There were initial predictions it would fall to one thousand naira to a dollar, as those with currencies stashed at home or in other places would trade them for the dollar.
But the naira appears to have strengthened to about seven hundred and seventy five naira to a dollar at the moment owing to improved dollar supply.
The naira’s weakness against the dollar has remained a huge concern for years and the country is advised to be more productive and stop import dependence so as to strengthen the naira.
The apex bank has said it will not extend the January 31st 2023 date to end the use of the old currencies.
In a bid to meet the deadline, videos and pictures of millions of naira have surfaced online with unconfirmed reports saying at least N52b in cash has been deposited in banks within two weeks of the announcement.
The President at the currencies’ unveiling says it was printed locally by the printing and minting company and should help the country address challenges illicit financial flows, corruption, and improve the value of the naira.
The naira redesign is the first of its kind in twenty years.