The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed commercial banks to begin issuing the redesigned naira notes over the counter to customers.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said in a statement on Thursday that the new directive is intended to alleviate the difficulties that Nigerians are having in accessing the new notes, as well as to reduce queues at automated teller machines (ATMs) across the country.
According to a search conducted by BizWatch Nigeria, ATMs throughout the country are usually crowded as customers rush to obtain the new, scarce notes.
The apex bank said in a statement signed by Osita Nwanisobi, director, corporate communications, CBN, that it was working to address issues with access to the redesigned notes.
“We have equally noticed the queues at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) across the country and an upward trend in the cases of people stocking and aggregating the newly introduced banknotes they serially obtain from ATMs for reasons best known to them,” CBN said.
“While reiterating our commitment to Nigerians to ensure the effective distribution of the newly introduced naira banknotes, we urge them to exercise patience as the CBN is working assiduously to address the challenge of queues at ATMs. In line with this resolve, the Govenor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has directed deposit money banks (DMBs) to commence the payment of the redesigned naira notes over the counter, subject to a maximum daily payout limit of N20,000.
“We also admonish members of the public to embrace and adopt other payment channels for their transactions.”
The race for the new notes
Some persons have been arrested for hoarding and selling the new notes.
BizWatch Nigeria reports that the new notes have been scarce though CBN claims to have disbursed the notes to all banks. The banks told their customers that they do not have the new notes.
A bank worker anonymously disclosed to BizWatch Nigeria that banks do not have the new notes and the new directive will cause a chaos; with customers rushing to the banks in hopes of getting the notes.
The research conducted by BizWatch Nigeria confirms that
- The new notes are scarce, even banks claim not to have them
- Some people even POS operators are selling the new notes
- The queue at the ATMs keep increasing
- The lack of cash has caused some hardship on Nigerians who are dealing with petrol scarcity and the price hike
- Some traders have refused to collect the old notes
With the deadline February 10, 2023 looming, Nigerians are panicking rushing just to get the new notes and some Nigerians who remitted their old notes tried to get them back but with no avail. Those who deposited all of their cash or 90% have been left stranded as the cashless policy does not relate in the transportation system, market or some filling stations who extort their customers.
On January 27, 2023 Zenith bank refused to disburse cash to its customers stating that they had not received money from CBN, the rule about the new notes prohibited them from dispensing old notes and their ATMs were not functional.
How effective is the new directive? Will banks disburse the new notes or will they recycle their line ‘We do not have the new notes’?
How long can Nigerians cope with the scarcity and the temptation to pay to get the new notes?