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Cash Clampdown in Nigeria Seeks to Curb Currency Hoarding, Kidnappings

  • Central bank says it doesn’t have visibility on 85% of cash
  • Current high-value currency will become illegal on Jan. 31
Old niara notes will cease to be legal tender starting Jan. 31.

Old niara notes will cease to be legal tender starting Jan. 31.

Photographer: Damilola Onafuwa/Bloomberg

Nigeria’s central bank said it’s move to replace high-value currency notes will help prevent hoarding and stymie illegal activity and kidnappings in Africa’s largest economy. 

The country’s banking regulator plans to issue redesigned 200-, 500- and 1,000-naira notes from mid-December, Central Bank Governor Godwin Emefiele said at a briefing in Abuja, the capital, on Wednesday. Old bills will cease to be legal tender starting Jan. 31, giving citizens of the West African country, where cash dominates transactions, six weeks to exchange their notes. The country is scheduled to hold presidential elections 25 days later.