Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Nigerians Lament Scarcity Of New Naira Notes In Banks, ATMs Few Weeks To Deadline For Old Ones

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A cross-section of Nigerians across the country have lamented the scarcity of the new naira notes just a few weeks to the deadline given by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the use of the old naira notes.

They lambasted President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration for spending a huge amount of money on redesigning naira notes despite Nigerians' objections.

The CBN stipulated January 31, 2023, as the deadline for issuance and circulation of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations of the country's currency following the introduction of new banknotes.

However, as of January 4, 2023, speaking with SaharaReporters, some Nigerians across the country lamented the scarcity of the new naira notes, with some calling it a scam, especially as they reportedly fade if touched by water.

A jewellery seller in Sokoto Central Market, Muneer Yauza, told SaharaReporters that he has only come in contact with one piece of the new N1,000 note, adding that most banks and galleries with Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in his area do not issue the new notes to customers.

“I only saw the new note –N1,000 like twice when a customer brought it to my shop. But all attempts to get it from banks were not successful. At least, I visit banks weekly but they still give out old notes.

“Most of the ATM galleries in my area do not issue the new notes,” Yauza said.

Another concerned Nigerian in Anambra State who simply identified herself as Adaorah told SaharaReporters, “My bank is not giving out the new notes. I asked them if they were available and they responded in the negative.”

Also, Mr. Verdict in Awka, the Anambra State capital, said he has only touched one piece of the new N500 note since it was unveiled, adding, “It wasn't even my money, but my wife's.”

Speaking further, he said, “I have had transactions in banks and withdrawn from ATMs since the introduction, but I have not had the privilege of being paid with it.

“I hear it is sold at ‘black market' to holidaymakers who want to attend events and spray them on celebrants. A certain guy even said to get N20,000 worth of new naira notes, you have to pay as much as N26,000. God forbid! Nothing, absolutely nothing works in this shithole of a country. Shame.”

Another person who identified himself as Patrick said that to date, he has not received payment with or been given the new naira notes at the banks.

Another Nigerian who did not disclose his identity told SaharaReporters that no ATM in Awka, Anambra State pays the new notes.

“They keep recycling the old notes. Believe me, there will be a serious cash shortage when the deadline comes. Too bad.”

“I have not even physically seen or touched the new notes. Only online. Everything in President Muhammadu Buhari’s Nigeria bụ ọgụ na mgba (is a struggle).

“I mean, Godwin Emefiele (Central Bank governor) is reportedly on the run, maybe them no print currency finish before DSS (Department of State Services) start dey pursue him. In summary, Buhari, DSS, Emefiele and even the new notes are all mad.”

Uncle Jay in Lagos said, “I have seen the new notes and even spent them, but yet no ATM is dispensing the new notes in our region, I think politicians have already luggage away the new naira notes against election, that's why they haven't circulated more.”

Israel in Ikorodu in Lagos State said, “I have only seen (physically) the new notes just once. ATMs and banks in Ikorodu are still issuing the old notes.

“I even heard from a few persons that the new notes now have the fake ones too. And that is why you find some people, especially the market women, rejecting the new notes as it’s pretty difficult to distinguish the original from the fake.

“Not even up to 15% of the population has started using the new notes. That deadline may not work. More sensitization is imperative.”

Oluchi, who lives in Abuja, said, “The fake is more in circulation than the real ones. Even the real one, if you mistakenly wash it alongside your clothes, na old paper you go see.”

The current development has frustrated many depositors whose hope of getting the new notes has been dashed.

SaharaReporters also learnt that angry customers have been harassing bank teller officers, asking why old notes were still being dispensed when the deadline was close.

Also, Point of Sale (POS) operators have also lamented the scarcity of the new notes.

For instance, Wole Adebiyi said he was not comfortable having the old notes with him as he may not have the time to deposit them once full academic programmes resume.

He said, “I’m here to get the new notes but they said they’re not available. They said I should use alternative electronic banking channels but network issues won’t let me have that. Besides, many of the traders in Ede, where my school is located, don’t even have the POS machines. They deal with cash. No cash, no deal. I’m in a dilemma.”

A bank customer, Clara Nwachukwu, who is also a POS operator said, “My customers are on my neck and itching for new notes but the banks say it’s not available. They said we should exercise patience. We’re waiting. The entire banking system is in disarray.”

One Mr Raphael who lives in Enugu also told SaharaReporters that he went to three banks in the metropolis but none of them had the new naira banknotes.

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