■Firms, traders,others reject old notes, as CBN’s Jan31 deadline closes in
By Chinwendu Obienyi
Few days to the January 31 deadline set by the Central Bank of Nigeria for the phasing out of
the old N1,000, N500 and N200
notes, bank customers across the country are complaining that they are yet to have access to the new notes with Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) still reported to be dispensing old notes.
On Thursday and Friday, Saturday Sun gathered that some of the commercial banks’ ATMs in many parts of Lagos were not dispensing cash, a situation that led to long queues in the banking halls.
This is coming after the CBN
Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had insisted that the January 31 deadline for the cessation of old notes remains sacrosanct.
Speaking during the recent Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting which held in Abuja, Emefiele when quizzed on whether the apex bank would extend the deadline, said, that the
CBN together with the Presidency felt that 100 days were enough for people who had old notes to de- posit them in the banks.
Emefiele, rather, urged those who might still be holding on to the old bank notes to turn them in, assuring them they would not be harassed by the anti-graft agencies. Emefiele also disclosed that to date, between N1.3 trillion and N1.5 trillion of the old naira notes had so far been returned, adding that the figures was expected to reach about N2 trillion at the end of the week.He added that the Central Bank was printing more banknotes which would be supplied to banks to boost availability as the old notes would expire at the end of the month.
Emefiele’s declaration put paid to speculations that the CBN might bow to public pressure and move forward the deadline it set for the return of the old naira notes, after which they would no longer re- main a legal tender.
The CBN Governor’s comment came just as the Senate and House of Representatives members urged the banking sector regulator to extend the deadline.
However, investigations reveal that several businesses as well as bank customers have started rejecting the notes. Similarly, retailers known for cash transactions have informed customers about their decision to discontinue the collection of old notes. Leading e-commerce platform, Jumia, announced that from Monday, January 30, 2023, it would no longer accept the old naira notes as a form of payment for goods purchased on its platform.
Speaking to some customers at the bank- ing halls, Saturday Sun gathered that frustration greeted some of the customers who fumed at the bank cashiers.
Ifunnaya Chidubem, a dealer in toiletries, said, “When I learnt that the deadline will not be extended, I rushed the next day to the ATM here to withdraw new notes, but it was still paying old notes. I took it and then came back to deposit it and the guys at the counter are very slow. In fact I am very annoyed because this is clearly not good for my business. I won’t even open up for business till next month so that my customers would not come and dump their old notes with me” Also complaining, Arinze Akachukwu, a businessman, com- plained about the lack of new notes, adding that he was yet to even get access to the redesigned N200 and N500 notes “To be candid, I am very angry with the authorities because I do not understand why I am still having issues access- ing the new notes. I have only seen N1000 notes but the others I have not been seen at all. This development is bad for business. Firstly it was FX scarcity and now this, I just pray and hope this phase will pass because it is making many bank customers frustrated”.
Commenting on the development, a bank staff who spoke with Saturday Sun, noted that it is still getting the new notes in small batches.
A look at the CBN’s website shows that it is three days to the January 31, deadline.