After several weeks of suffering the terrible effects of cash crunch, consumers finally heaved a sigh of relief as most banks started paying them large amounts of money across the counter and through the bank’s Automated Teller Machines [ATM] few days ago.
Though the cash being payed out were the old naira notes of N1,000 and N500 initially outlawed as legal tenders but the Supreme Court ruling that insisted that they should remain legal tenders until the 31st of December, saved the day.
However even after that, there was still a lot of confusion because though the banks were paying it out to customers, they were not accepting it from depositors.
Banks insisted on depositors generating a CBN code before accepting the money. Some commercial banks asked depositors to go to an independent cyber café to generate the CBN code.
This discouraged consumers from accepting the money from banks.
Also traders, transporters and other service providers refused to accept the money.
Many banks’ branches did not pay out any money as they claimed not to have received any money from their headquarters, as such many people could not go to work or carry out their normal activities due to lack of cash.
However, last Wednesday, many banks had started paying their customers large sums of money.
For instance, most of the First Bank branches allowed their customers to withdraw a maximum of N30,000 each.
At the Akowonjo branch of First Bank customers were seen withdrawing up to N30,000 from their ATM or across the counter. The trend continued as at press.
Majority of other banks on Allen Avenue also payed large amounts of money to their customers.
“I was able to collect N30,000 from my First Bank account on Wednesday and N20,000 from Zenith Bank the same day. Based on that early on Thursday morning I rushed to another branch of first bank and collected N40,000 and went to Zenith Bank on Oba Akran Ikeja and still made large withdrawal,” enthused Mrs. Esther Ezeokoli a trader at Ipodo market Ikeja.
A visit to some of the banks especially those in Ikeja, Egbeda axis, showed a drastic reduction in the length of queues of people struggling to gain access into the banking halls and those at the ATM galleries.
The Central Bank of Nigeria [CBN] has directed commercial banks to dispense and receive old naira notes as legal tender across the country.
The CBN gave the directive at a Bankers’ Committee meeting held last Sunday, according to a statement by the acting Director, CBN Corporate Communications, Isa Abdul Mumin, on Monday.
This is coming hours after the Presidency said the CBN had no reason not to comply with the ruling of the Supreme Court on the naira redesign policy.
It stated that the President Muhammadu Buhari, did not instruct the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, and the Attorney-General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, to disobey “any court orders involving the government and other parties.”
But the apex bank in a statement titled, “Old N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes Remain Legal Tender – CBN’, said the directive was in compliance with Buhari’s administration obedience to court orders.
The statement read, “In compliance with the established tradition of obedience to court orders and sustenance of the Rule of Law Principle that characterised the government of President Muhammad Buhari, and by extension, the operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria, as a regulator, Deposit Money Banks operating in Nigeria have been directed to comply with the Supreme Court ruling of March 3, 2023.
“Accordingly, the CBN met with the Bankers’ Committee and has directed that the old N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes remain legal tender alongside the redesigned banknotes till December 31, 2023. Consequently, all concerned are directed to conform accordingly.”
Tellers at the commercial banks are to generate the codes for deposits and there is no limit to the number of times an individual or company can make deposits.
It may be recalled that many state governors had threatened to deal with any bank that refused to accept the old notes from depositors.
Governor Chukwuma Soludo of Anambra State last week asked residents of Anambra State to freely accept and transact their businesses with the old currency notes (N200; N500; and N1,000) as well as the new notes.