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Old Naira: Pains persist despite fresh CBN orders

Barely three days after the Central Bank of Nigeria declared old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes as legal tender, commercial banks are complaining about shortage of cash.Information Guide Nigeria

This has caused severe hardship and pains for several bank customers seeking to withdraw funds.

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According to PUNCH, while some bank officials said their stocks of old notes were beginning to run low, others said they had exhausted the old naira notes in their vaults.

However, the CBN which has kept mute on whether it will release more old notes into circulation, is reportedly opposed to the recirculation of the old currencies due to its determination to push the cashless policy initiative to a logical end, PUNCH reports.

A senior bank executive who spoke on condition of anonymity revealed that, “The CBN did not print enough new notes and does not want to return the old notes it has collected because it is still driving its cashless policy.”

PUNCH reports that a top industry executive close to the CBN said they might not return the old notes to banks because it would reverse its cashless policy.

Also speaking to PUNCH correspondents, a managing director of a tier-2 bank said, ”We don’t know if the CBN has destroyed the old notes in its custody or not. As we speak, we don’t also know if it will release the old notes to banks again but the truth is banks don’t have much of these old notes in their vaults. Sadly, customers are not depositing much again.”

“Many of us are expecting the CBN to disburse the old notes before Saturday. However, we are concerned they may not do so to curtail vote-buying on Saturday.

PUNCH reports that several banks said on Wednesday said their old notes stock had gone down.

An official of FCMB branch in Ikeja told  PUNCH, “We exhausted our old notes by 2pm. Our head office has yet to give us any fresh supply because it does not have. We can only hope the CBN will supply soon.”

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A First Bank official in the Akure branch, Ondo State, who spoke with The PUNCH on condition of anonymity, said, “Today, we paid N5,000 to each customer, yesterday, we paid N20,000; on Monday, we did N20,000.  We have run out of both old and new notes now.

“People are not depositing old notes again. A branch that gets close to N100m in cash deposit or more, can hardly boast of N1m now. Most of our branches are advising customers to use alternative channels to transfer funds.

PUNCH reports that an official of  UBA in Alagbako branch, Akure, Ondo State, also said that they do not have enough funds in its vault.

He said, “There is no money, we do not have enough cash, we barely opened till 12:00pm today because we had exhausted our cash. Customers are no longer bringing in funds via deposits and the CBN is not giving banks money.”

Furthermore, some economic analyst have reacted to the development.

The Director of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprise, Dr. Muda Yusuf, expressed concern that there might be an attempt to sabotage the Supreme Court’s judgement.

As reported by PUNCH, Dr. Muda Yusuf said, “What I think should happen is to first ascertain the validity of the statement that all the old notes have been recycled because I do not think that all that money should have been destroyed so quickly, the President needs to carry out an audit.NYSC Portal

“Secondly, all along I expected that the CBN should have been printing more currencies because we have been on this for some time, so I expected that by now the amount of new currency in circulation should have increased.

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He further stated, “I hope there is no deliberate attempt to sabotage the judgement of the Supreme Court because we cannot rule it out, however, it is for the president to ensure that this is done because the banks cannot do it and the CBN is replying very reluctantly. So, the President will have to validate all these claims by doing an audit of the old currency that is available to be sure that indeed all the old notes have been destroyed.”

Meanwhile, Over-the-counter withdrawals of old notes have increased in Abuja on Wednesday but several banks ran out of cash before their closing time.

PUNCH reports that it visited Globus Bank, First City Monument Bank, Access Bank, United Bank for Africa and GTBank located in Wuse, FCT.

At Access Bank, only a withdrawal of N5,000 in old N1,000 notes was allocated to each customer, though restrictions were not given to withdrawals made by customers at Globus Bank.JAMB Result

A GTBank official said, “We are only disbursing from the small amount we have in our vault; that is why there is a withdrawal limit. We are hopeful that before the weekend we will receive a substantial amount from the CBN.”

Some traders and commercial drivers are still rejecting the old naira note.

PUNCH reports that an Okada rider who refused to collect the old notes from a passenger asked, “Has Buhari announced that we should use the notes? I am not collecting it until he announces it.”

A driver who simply identified himself as Sola said he was scared that after accepting the notes he might not be able to spend it, adding that he will wait until next week before accepting the old currency from customers.

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Idongesit Akpa-Ayang

Idongesit is a graduate of Communication Arts, University of Uyo. Currently working as a news reporter at InfoGuide Nigeria.

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