Deposit Money Banks in the country are not to blame for the scarcity of the new Naira notes, Switch Nigeria has authoritatively gathered.
Daily business activities have become more difficult for many Nigerians due to the scarcity of new Naira notes ahead of the deadline given by the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The apex bank has insisted on January 31 deadline for withdrawal of old notes from circulation.
But with still four days to the deadline, some Nigerians and businesses are complaining that banks are not issuing new notes to customers except through the Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) at a maximum of N20,000 daily, a development they say is making it difficult to make cash transactions.
The CBN is not bending on the January 31, 2023 deadline despite the poor circulation of the new notes across Nigeria.
A businessman (name withheld) told Switch Nigeria that he requested N8m from his account manager in a commercial bank in Abuja to carry out routine transactions but it was declined.
“I requested N8m of the new notes from my bank to run my daily operations this morning (Thursday) but they declined.
“The bank confided in me that they were acting on the orders of the CBN that they should not give new notes to customers except through the ATM,” the businessman revealed to this newspaper.
CBN introduced a policy that allows a weekly withdrawal limit of N500,000 for individuals and N5M for corporates. Amounts above the limit will attract 3 per cent and 5 per cent charge on the excess.
But the businessman said he “was willing to pay the charges” if he could access the new notes.
Patience Ayuba, an abuja based POS operator also told THE WHISTLER that she shut down her business on Wednesday, January 25, 2023 because she couldn’t withdraw new notes.
According to Ayuba, her customers have begun to reject the old notes.
She said, “I shut down my business yesterday because I could not get the new notes. My customers are rejecting the old notes and it is making us lose a lot of money.
“Today I went to the bank but they were issuing old notes, I tried the ATM and the queue was frustrating. I could only withdraw N20000. What will N20000 do for me in a day.
Today I only have N50,000 to do my transaction today. I hoarded N30,000 and withdrew N20000 from ATM.”
Ayuba makes a profit of around N4,000 daily but she said her profit has reduced to N1,000.
Rural Area In More Financial Troubles
At Ebem Ohafia in Ohaifia Local Government of Abia State, community member, Fortune who spoke to THE WHISTLER said bank ATMs have been dry of cash for days.
He said the CBN agents that were said to be in unbanked communities to execute the new cash swap programmes ahead of the deadline were not in the area.
He said, “It is so disheartening that someone can’t get the new notes few days to the deadline. How do they want the old women and men to cope? Most of them don’t even have a bank account.
“Most POS operators in Ebem Ohafia don’t even have the new notes. They still pay these old people with the old ones.”
The Director, Corporate Communications of the CBN, Osita Nwasinobi, when contacted refused to comment on the matter.
But the apex bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, revealed at the January 2023 Monetary Policy Committee meeting that the CBN had banned banks from paying new notes over the counter.
Emefiele said banks “paid new notes to their friends. We told the banks to fill their ATMs with new notes and do not put in old notes again. We increased the volume of disbursement of new notes to the banks and at some points, we told banks to reduce the volume of old notes in their banks at a certain percentage because on the first you should have zero old notes in their vaults.”
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