Update on New Naira Notes: CBN reacts to complains of scarcity

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* Olubadan supports CBN, accepts Jan. 31 deadline

Some bank customers have decried scarcity of the redesigned N1,000, N500 and N200 notes in Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) and Other Financial Institutions (OFIs).

This is coming barely nine days to the Jan. 31 deadline to stop the use of the old notes of the redesigned denominations as legal tender.

The customers, who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Abuja, complained that banks kept supplying their customers with the old notes, which would soon cease to be legal tender.

According to Ibrahim Abbas, a Civil Servant, the banks have no reason to load their Automated Teller Marchines (ATMs) with the old notes after customers have deposited them in their accounts as advised by authorities.

“They say that they are redesigning some denominations of the Naira, and that Nigerians should take their old notes to the banks and start getting the redesigned ones.

“But what we still get from the ATMs, and even from the bank counters are the old notes. This is not right,” he said.

Mr Suleman Aliu, another bank customer said that the delay in flooding the banks with the new Naira notes close to the deadline meant that some people would lose some of their money.

“If the deadline is Jan. 31, which is nine days from today, and the banks are still supplying the old notes, it means they want some people to lose their money, ” he said

A Point of Sale (PoS) operator, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) needed to do better in its supply of the new notes.

“CBN is telling us that there are enough of the redesigned notes in vaults of the DMBs, but the banks are saying that they do not have enough supply of the notes. Something is not adding up,” he said.

NAN recalls that the CBN announced plans to redesign certain denominations of the currency in Oct., 2022, fixing Jan. 31 as deadline for the circulation of the old notes.

Meanwhile, the apex bank says it has mandated the DMBs to ensure issuance of the new notes strictly through their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).

The CBN said this on Friday, in a statement jointly signed by Haruna Mustapha, the Director, Banking Supervision Department, and Musa Jimoh, the Director Payment System Management Department.

It said that the mandate was to ensure that distribution of the new currency notes was fair, transparent, and evenly spread across the country.

The CBN also allayed the fears of rural dwellers at accessing the new notes before the Jan. 31 deadline.

It announced that it would inaugurate a cash-swap programme in rural and underserved areas of the country on Monday to boost collection of the redesigned Naira notes.

The apex bank said that the inauguration was informed by the need to maximise the channels through which underserved and rural communities could exchange their naira notes.

It said that the inauguration would hold in partnership with DMBs and super agents.

“The old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes can be exchanged for the redesigned notes or existing lower denominations of N100, N50 and N20 which remain legal tender.

 “The super agents can exchange a maximum of N10,000 per person, while amounts above M10,000 shall be treated as cash-in deposit into wallets or bank accounts in line with the cashless policy.

“Bank Verification Number, National Identification Number or Voter’s Card details of the customer should be captured as much as possible,’’ the CBN said.

Also, the CBN had earlier disclosed that it ordered the printing of 500 million pieces of new Naira notes in the first contract, which rolled out in the last week of Dec. 2022.

Aisha Ahmad, the Deputy Governor, Financial System Stability, said this at a House of Representatives hearing on implementation of CBN cashless policy and the new withdrawal limits.

Ahmad said that there were 31 DMBs with 4,603 branches as at October 2022.

“In the OFIs sector, there are 878 Microfinance Banks with1,966 branches; 1.4 million agents; 899,642 PoS terminals, and more than 14,000 ATMs,” she said.

According to her, a review of the cost of currency management from 2017 to 2021 indicated an average increase of more than N10 billion per annum.

She said that over 90 per cent of currency management costs were attributed to banknotes production.

OLUBADAN SUPPORTS REDESIGNED NOTES

The CBN has enlisted the support of the Olubadan of Ibadanland, Oba Lekan Balogun and Olubadan-in-Council, on the advocacy of the newly designed naira notes in Ibadan.

Mrs Olufolake Ogundero, the CBN Ibadan Branch Controller, told said this after an advocacy visit to the Olubadan on Saturday at his Alarere Palace, in Ibadan.

The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the apex bank’s sensitisation train, which took off from the popular Dugbe Market on Thursday, had visited major markets across the state and other important institutions.

It would be recalled that the CBN Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, had announced the introduction of redesigned N200, N500 and N1000 notes with a directive that all old notes would be out of circulation by Jan. 31.

Ogundero said that the CBN had disbursed enough of the redesigned notes to banks in the country.

She said that heavy sanction awaited any commercial bank that hoarded or engaged in any sharp practice on the newly introduced naira notes.

The branch controller said that the apex bank had provided sufficient liquid cash for the smooth running of the nation’s economy.

“We have also disbursed adequate newly redesigned naira notes to all banks in Nigeria. They have no excuse not to pay customers or load it in their ATMs.

“We are tracking and monitoring these banks on compliance and commensurate sanctions awaits any bank or individual that is found engaging in any sharp practice,” she said.

Ogundero said that they were at the palace on the instruction of the CBN governor to sensitise the Olubadan-in- Council and seek their valuable support for the newly redesigned Naira notes.

She reaffirmed that the Jan. 31 deadline for the legal tender of the old naira notes remained sacrosanct.

Ogundero encouraged Nigerians not to wait until rush hour to deposit their old notes, saying there would be no extension beyond Jan. 31.

“We have come here on the instruction of the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele to sensitise the Olubadan-in-Council and seek their valuable support for the newly redesigned Naira notes.

“We are also using this occasion to reaffirm that the Jan. 31 deadline for the legal tender of the old naira notes remains sacrosanct.

“These new notes are available in the ATMs and there is no limit for the amount of deposit and no charge or charges for the deposit made by bank customers,” she said.

The Olubadan said that some banks were still dispensing old notes in their ATMs, urging the CBN to ensure banks paid customers with new notes.

Oba Balogun, who spoke through the Otun Balogun of Ibadan, High Chief Tajudeen Ajibola, expressed readiness to sensitise and create more awareness on the part of Ibadan indigenes as well as residents.

Among those who joined the Olubadan in receiving the CBN delegation were Osi- Balogun, High Chief Gbadamosi Adebimpe; Osi-Olubadan, High Chief Eddy Oyewole; Ashipa-Balogun, High Chief Kola Adegbola and Maye-Olubadan, Senior Chief Lekan Alabi, among others.