‘They Are Hoarding It’ — 7 Days To CBN Deadline, Nigerians Can’t Find New Naira Notes

With only seven days left until the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) declares old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes illegal tender, some Nigerians are yet to get access to the new notes.

In 2022, the apex bank announced its decision to redesign the N200, N500, and N1000 notes, asking Nigerians to deposit the old notes in their possession.

The bank governor, Godwin Emefiele, said this was done in a bid to mop up physical cash to implement a cashless policy.

The CBN also ordered banks to extend their operating hours to have more time to receive the old notes.

However, a few days shy of the CBN’s January 31st deadline, and some Nigerians are yet to start spending the new notes.

Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) are still dispensing old notes rather than new ones.

According to the CBN, commercial banks are the ones not requesting the new notes and some people say the banks that have the new notes are refusing to allow them to circulate.

Individuals that also have the new notes are not willing to spend them and many are hoarding them rather than circulating them.

A student, Adekunle Adetayo, told IBrandTV that the new Naira is not circulating because “there isn’t enough of it being distributed out and the people who have access to it are still hoarding it.”

“I’ve used a lot of ATMs since the new notes were said to be out and I haven’t gotten it from any ATM,” he said.

Another student, Ojo Joseph blames the banks for not allowing the notes to circulate.

He said, “The new notes are not circulating because of the bank itself. How can people deposit their old naira notes and still go to the ATM to withdraw the old naira note?

“I’ve gone to the bank at least twice to get the new naira notes but was unable to. I only get it from market women and POS people. It seems they go to the bank and have people that give it to them.”

DEADLINE EXTENSIONS

Many Nigerians are hoping that the CBN would extend the deadline to allow more time for the new notes to circulate.

A business owner, George Lydia, said she feels the deadline would be extended citing the N100 redesign case.

“I feel it would still be extended because what do they expect people to do with the old notes? Besides, this already happened before with the 100 Naira, and we are still spending the old note so they will probably still put some things into consideration,” she said.

Oghenemega Great, a student also thinks the deadline would be extended also citing the case of the National Identification Number (NIN).

“Like that of NIN, they’ll keep postponing the deadline,” Oghenemega said.

Adekunle Adetayo also does not think the deadline is feasible looking at how the old notes are still more in circulation that the new ones.

“I don’t think the deadline is feasible considering the fact that there is still so much of the old notes out there and there are still a lot of people who haven’t even gotten the new notes,” Adetayo said.

However, the CBN has stated that it would not be extending the deadline even after the National Assembly called for an extension.

READ ALSO: Why CBN Will Not Extend Deadline For Exchange Of Naira Notes – Governor Emefiele

The Assembly on December 28, 2022, in a motion raised by senator Ali Ndume, urged the apex bank to extend the deadline to 30th June 2023.

Supporting the motion, Senator Aliyu Wammako said, “the timing needs to be extended to allow every Nigerian to play his/her role. I support the notion that this withdrawal date is extended to June 30th, 2023.”

The CBN is however standing on its ground of not extending the deadline and has introduced measures to ensure that the deadline is met, including asking banks to extend their operating hours and introducing the cash swap policy.

The CBN’s cash swap program is a program where people in rural areas can swap their old naira notes for new naira notes ahead of the deadline.

READ ALSO: Cash Swap Programme: CBN Vows To Sanction Erring Agents

The CBN instructed all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Mobile Money Operators (MMOs), Super agents, and agents to participate in the program.

The CBN also put a limit on cash withdrawals to allow for the proper flow of new notes and to encourage a cashless economy.

The CBN has also promised to sanction any commercial bank dispensing the old notes.

The CBN governor stated this during a sensitization campaign in Nasarawa, last Thursday.

Godwin Emefiele

Represented by the apex bank’s director of security service, Atiku Mohammed-Nasir, Emefiele urged the traders and residents of the state to embrace the redesigned notes for their transactions.

“Henceforth, When you go to any commercial bank, and you are issued the old N200, N500 and N1,000 do not collect (them) because they would become useless from January 31.

“We will henceforth sanction any bank found guilty of dispensing the old naira notes at ATMs or over the counters to customers.”

He added, “The CBN has supplied adequate new Naira notes to the various commercial banks. If any bank issues you old naira notes, report such bank to the CBN for appropriate action.”

WHAT THE LAW SAYS

After the 31st of January, 2023, the old N200, N500, and, N1000 notes would cease to be legal tender.

This means that if a person rejects the money, it would not be a violation of the CBN Act of 2007.

Section 20(5) of the CBN Act of 2007, states that “A person who refuses to accept the naira as a means of payment is guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of N50,000 or six months’ imprisonment.”

However, sub-section 3 of the same Section 20 of the Act states that “the Bank shall have power, if directed to do so by the President and after giving reasonable notice in that behalf, to call in any of its notes or coins on payment of the face value thereof and any note or coin with respect to which a notice has been given under this sub-section, shall, on the expiration of the notice, cease to be legal tender, but, subject to section 22 of this Act, shall be redeemed by the bank upon demand.”

This means that with the president’s approval of the new notes, any person in possession of the old naira notes after the deadline would not be able to use them for any payments unless the CBN redeems it.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.