Why the Federal Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) announced that it was changing currency bases on issues bordering on shortage of clean banknotes, hoarding of bank notes, long overdue redesign and access to large volume of money used by terrorists and kidnappers among others, there was uproar.
People expressed varied opinions on the need for such step at this period, the noise was even louder when the sample of the new notes were made public; people felt there was no real change except for the notes being dyed, some even expressed the sentiment that the new notes were thrashy and lacking in aesthetic.
No matter the sentiment however, naira redesign is not a new thing globally and it had happened in Nigeria before. What seems more important to the average Nigerian who is not an economist to analyse whether the redesign is a viable decision or not is how the development affects him.
Is there any legal implication for the average Nigerian on the new notes and if yes, what are they?
The first point to note is that the CBN has the power to redesign the Naira and it carried out the exercise under the powers set out in Sections 2, 18 and 19 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007.
The only condition to the exercise of this power under the CBN Act is that it must be done with approval by the President on the recommendation of the CBN Board of Directors.
So what is the effect on the average Nigerian? There is no negative effect on the average man and there is no need to panic because the development is not novel in the world.
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There is nothing wrong with the naira. The only thing that needs to be done is to start complying with the directive of the CBN by depositing all old money into the bank and do so before the deadline set by CBN which is January 31, 2023.
Also, money deposited into the bank before that date is not lost, you will be given the new note when you want to withdraw which is the legal tender from the set date.
Note however that all liabilities under the old naira continues with the new naira. The meaning of this is that those that borrowed money prior to January 31, 2023 must pay. The change of note dies not stop you from paying back as no liability is liquidated by the redesign.