Financial analysts have hailed the Central Bank of Nigeria's move to extend the deadline for exchanging new naira notes for old ones in circulation to February 10. 

Nigerians, including stakeholders, the 36 state governors, the Nigerian Bar Association, the Arewa Consultative Forum, and bank customers, lobbied the apex bank on Sunday for a review of the policy and an extension of the January 31 deadline. 

Reacting to the development, Uche Uwaleke, President of the Association of Capital Market Academics of Nigeria and the country's first professor of Capital Market, who spoke with our correspondent by phone on Sunday, said the CBN's extension of the deadline until February 10 portrayed the CBN as a responsive organization that was sensitive to Nigerians' yearnings. 
"The modification of the cash withdrawal restrictions demonstrates that the apex bank is following up concerns and means well for Nigerians. 

"This deadline extension will reduce ATM queues, reduce panic and uncertainty among small business owners in remote areas, and most importantly, allow more time for the new naira notes to circulate while the old ones are returned to the CBN, given that about N900 billion is still outside the banks, as revealed by CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele," he said. 

Uwaleke also emphasized that the new limit was set before the February 25 presidential election in order to reduce vote-buying and discourage the current practice of rejecting old notes despite the fact that they were still legal cash. 

He praised the CBN as well as the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (ret. ), for approving the extension. 

Dr Nnaemeka Obiaraeri, Chief Executive Officer of Taurus Capital Limited, responded that the monetary conversion policy was admirable since it assisted to minimize the pace at which kidnappers sought significant sums of money to free their victims. 

Obiaraeri stated that it had also irritated politicians who were hoarding money in order to buy votes in the upcoming election, telling them that they had the option of depositing their old notes or losing everything to the policy. 

"With the level of the country's economic inflation, the records of the Nigeria Deposit Insurance Corporation, National Bureau of Statistics, and CBN show that over 133 million multidimensional poor Nigerians and over 178 million Nigerians do not earn more than N60,000 per month and do not have enough to feed in a day," he said. 

As a result, he urged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, the Department of State Services, and the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission, among others, to keep a close eye on all branch managers, regional managers, heads of operations, CEOs, and key relationship managers of Nigeria's deposit money banks by putting 24/7 surveillance around them to help stop any hanky-panky action capable of sabotaging policy efforts. 

"The CBN should also hire KPMG Advisory Services, PWC, and Deloitte to perform a quick random sampled crash audit within the next seven days to determine what commercial banks did with the old notes deposited and the new ones disbursed by the apex bank," he added. 

While commenting on the extension, Emefiele stated that the CBN had received N1.7 trillion in old naira notes so far, with N500 billion more to come. 

The CBN governor did not say how much cash would be left outside the banking system as a result of the currency makeover.

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