As the deadline for the cessation of old notes closes in, many business owners and customers across Lagos have started rejecting the old notes for the fear of being caught up by the CBN directive possession of the notes.
This is coming after the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, insisted that i January 31 deadline remains sacrosanct for old notes.
Speaking during the recent Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting which held in Abuja, Emefiele said, the CBN together with the Presidency felt that 100 days was enough for people who had old notes to deposit them in the banks.
He noted that the bank took several measures and embarked on various strategies to ensure banks remained open to accepting the old notes.
“We do not see any reason for a shift or extension because we did enough to encourage Nigerians to bring these old notes to the bank. At the initial stage, we observed that banks were paying these new notes to their priority customers and we ordered them to stop over the counter withdrawals and told them to dispense these notes via their ATMs. That worked but when new notes finished, we told them to put in the old notes to ensure that customers can still withdraw money to go about their needs.
We then changed tactic and mandated them to dispense only new notes because we disbursed huge volumes of new notes to them which is currently running,” he said.
According to him, there is an adequate quantity of new notes available for collection at the ATMs.
Due to the announcement, investigations reveal that businesses (hotels) and bank customers started rejecting the old notes.
Speaking to Daily Sun, Jane Uloma, a businesswoman, said, “I heard about the announcement and since the CBN is still adamant on the deadline, I have stopped accepting the old notes because I do not want to lose and I do not want to queue at the banking halls because time is money”.
Ebube Odili, a trader, said, “I went to the ATM hoping to get the new notes but instead I got the old notes. I immediately went into the bank to complain only to be told that the new notes are inadequate. Anyways, I have told myself that since it is like this, I would henceforth stop collecting the old notes. I might not come to the shop as from next week just to observe what would be going on.”
Reacting to the development, governors as well as the senate have urged the apex bank to soft-pedal on its deadline for phasing out old Naira notes fixed for the end of January but to extend to July 31, 2023.
Senators, during debate on a motion by Sadiq Suleiman Umar (APC, Kwara) at Tuesday’s plenary, said the new notes were not enough in circulation, warning that if the deadline was not extended, there would be chaos in many parts of the country.
The lawmakers also expressed dismay that the CBN had insisted on the January 31 deadline despite huge public outcries.
The Senate, therefore, asked the CBN to extend the deadline by six months to allow Nigerians especially those in rural areas more time to change their old notes.
The Red Chamber also urged the CBN to compel deposit money banks to open a naira exchange window for those without bank accounts.
Senate President Ahmad Lawan assured that the National Assembly leadership would ensure that the resolution is implemented by the CBN.
A look at the CBN’s website shows that it is three days to the January 31, deadline.