The International Monetary Fund said on Wednesday that Nigeria should consider extending a deadline to swap old banknotes in light of disruptions to trade and payments due to a shortage of new notes.

Nigerians have to turn in 1,000, 500 and 200 naira notes by Friday when they cease to be legal tender. The central bank has started releasing newly designed notes, but many Nigerians say they are not yet available in banks, sparking acute cash shortages and chaotic scenes at banks.

The IMF said in a statement: "In spite of measures introduced by the CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) to mitigate the challenges in the banknote swap process, the IMF encourages the CBN to consider extending the deadline, should problems persist in the next few days leading up to the February 10, 2023 deadline." (Reporting by Camillus Eboh Writing by Chijioke Ohuocha Editing by Alexander Winning)