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January 31, deadline for old naira notes

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By Mercy Kelani

ATM booths still dispense old and dirty naira notes against CBN’s directive.

A Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Director and Managing Director of NIRSAL Micro-Finance Bank, Abdullahi Kure, stated that the CBN would not cease to monitor banks, stressing the meting out of appropriate sanctions on banks caught in the act of hoarding and diverting new naira notes. The CBN are following closely to keep records of banks receiving new notes and how they disburse them or why they do not disburse them. The director asserted that there has been deployment of Directors all over the country to facilitate awareness on new naira notes and cash restriction.

The apex bank visited ATMs belonging to Access Bank, GTCo and Keystone Bank in Wuse LGA, Abuja. The Operations Manager of the Access Bank, Wuse, Abuja, Ugo Chinenye, disclaimed hoarding the new notes with affirmation that the ATMs are loaded in regards to the volume of new notes they gets from the CBN. Despite this assertion, only few ATM booths disburse new naira notes as old and dirty notes still get withdrawn from ATMs which is an unacceptable development for the CBN.

Council of Traditional Rulers plead for extension of deadline.

In the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Chairman Council of Traditional Rulers during a meeting at the palace of His Royal Majesty Adamu Baba Yunusa, pleaded for an extension of the deadline of January 31, 2023 so as to create more sensitization at the grassroots. The Director General of the International Center for Islamic Culture and Education, Dr. Kabir Kabo Usman, similarly emphasized the need for creation of awareness on the new notes given that the deadline is a week and few days away.

Usman stated that there is an urgent need to make sure everyone deposit old notes at the banks in order not to lose their funds. Local businesses are also advised to do so with all old notes. He promised to erase the doubts in the minds of people, so far it is a government policy that was birthed from extensive research and ensure that the message spreads across all mosques in Abuja. In his speech, he appealed to CBN to ensure availability of the notes to the masses.

CBN encourages people to deposit old notes to receive new naira notes.

Bank customers lamented the scarcity of the new currency as it was greatly affecting their businesses. A Point of Sales (POS) agent, Rufus Peterson, complained that his customers no longer accept the old notes from him, whereas the ATM booths have not ceased to dispense them. His business suffers for his helpless inability to secure the new naira notes. Other POS agents – Salau Mahmoud, Success Onoja and Joy Makir – suffer the same plight and appeal to the CBN to put an end to scarcity of the notes.

On January 19, 2023, the CBN campaigned on the availability and admissibility of the new currency at Edo markets, encouraging people to deposit their old notes at the banks to receive new notes. The Assistant Director and Acting Branch Controller of the Benin Branch of the CBN, Michael Mgbeze, addressed traders during the sensitization workshop at the Oba market in Benin City and advised them to get the new notes with warnings that there would be no adjustment of the deadline from January 31.

Commercial banks must issue the new naira notes through ATMs.

Governor, Godwin Emefiele, represented by the CBN’s Director of Legal Affairs Department, Kofo Salam-Alada, affirmed that the apex bank has been calling on banks to reach out to CBN for collection of the new naira notes. He added that some conditionality for access to the new notes has been put aside to fit the banks. CBN Director of Corporate Communications, Abia State, Osita Nwanisobi, at the Ariria International market, Aba, Abia State, affirmed that no commercial bank should issue the new currency across the counter but through ATMs to ensure circulation to everyone before January 31.

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