• Nigerians are facing a redesign of their banknotes, the naira, which means old naira bank notes will be useless after February 10.
• The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has imposed a weekly cash withdrawal limit causing long queues at banks and ATMs.
• There is an even bigger issue in rural areas, with individuals unable to access any new notes and PoS transaction charges have skyrocketed by 400%.
Redesign of Nigerian Naira
Nigerians are facing a redesign of their banknotes, the naira, which means old naira bank notes will be useless after February 10. This policy is causing a flood of people at bank offices and ATMs desperate to swap their old bank notes for the new redesign.
Cash Withdrawal Limit
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has imposed a weekly cash withdrawal limit which, as of January 9, was 500,000 naira for individuals (around $1,087) and 5,000,000 naira (around $10,087) for organizations. Actual amounts that can be pulled out vary depending on what’s available at each location and many Nigerians are walking away empty handed due to scarcity issues in some rural areas.
Impact Of Policy Changes On Election
This policy change is coming to head during the massively-important general election on February 25. Political parties in Nigeria are threatening an election boycott if the February 10 deadline is pushed back again as they believe less cash in circulation will cut down on election fraud and vote buying.
Impact On Everyday Life
For individuals who are able to get naira from banks or ATMs point-of-sale (PoS) transaction charges have skyrocketed by 400% in most cities across the country. This is causing fear amongst Nigerians who are already struggling to keep up with cost of living due to inflation being over 20%.
The monetary collision between banking system and politics has caused chaos across Nigeria with no easy solution in sight. While there may be good intentions behind this policy change it is having devastating effects on everyday life with individuals unable to access any new notes or withdraw enough money each week to cover basic costs of living or participate in elections without fear of fraud or vote buying.