The CBN has yet to distribute old notes to banks



Despite asking commercial banks to begin recirculating the old N1000 and N500 notes, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has yet to release them, according to Daily Trust findings.


This comes as commercial banks struggle to meet the increasing demands of customers who swarm their branches across the states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Traders, artisans, PoS operators, and students, among others, who visited bank branches, expressed dissatisfaction because they were unable to withdraw the amounts they desired.


Those who spoke with our correspondents said they were only given N5,000 to N10,000, while a few others received N20,000.


The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said Monday in a statement issued by its spokesman, Isa AbdulMumin, that deposit money banks operating in the country have been directed to comply with the Supreme Court’s March 3 ruling, which stated that the old N1,000, N500, and N200 notes remain legal tender until December 31.


The CBN’s statement came just hours after Aso Villa issued a statement quoting President Muhammadu Buhari as saying he did not direct the CBN and the Attorney-General of the Federation not to comply with the Supreme Court’s decision.


Same old issue


Our reporters confirmed yesterday that the CBN was not reissuing the old notes that had already been removed from circulation.


“We are not receiving any old cash from the CBN,” said a senior manager at Guarantee Trust Bank. I have a large stock of the old notes, which we are currently recirculating.”


According to the source, most commercial banks kept the old notes in the days leading up to the February 10 deadline, before the Supreme Court order shortened the CBN’s initial deadline.


“We had that cash with us, and when the CBN became overwhelmed with those rushing to beat the deadline, they also directed them to the commercial banks, so we have that stock too. That is the reserve we have amassed.”


Also, a management staff of Polaris Bank who spoke to our reporter on condition of anonymity said, “We have not received the old notes largely because we have not finished dispensing our old naira stock.


“The instruction we have is to dispense every note at our disposal. We will have a clear understanding of things once we have exhausted our resources.”


Banks follow the directive to disburse old N1000 and N500 notes.


Our correspondents in Kaduna, Abuja, and Kano report that some banks, including Sterling, GTB, First Bank, United Bank of Africa (UBA), and Access Bank, were dispensing the old N500 notes to their customers yesterday in response to the CBN’s directive.


“I collected N20,000 old N500 notes from my bank today,” said a Sterling Bank customer simply identified as Mrs Gabriel. I’m overjoyed because I haven’t seen this much money in weeks.”


Most banks’ automated teller machines were seen dispensing cash in Lagos.


Despite the fact that most banks were still rationing available cash in order to meet the needs of their customers, there was a noticeable improvement from the previous weeks’ chaos.


Customers at Polaris Bank, Iju, were given N10,000 instead of the required N20,000.


Our correspondents confirmed that they withdrew N5,000 and N10,000 from Unity Bank branches in Bwari and Abuja’s Central Business District, respectively.


Matthew Obiazikwor, Unity Bank’s Head of Corporate Communication, confirmed that the bank had fully complied with the CBN directive.


“We’re giving our customers cash. We completely followed the directive. Our ATMs are also fully operational. However, there is still a daily withdrawal limit,” he explained.

Nigerians are outraged that traders and transporters are refusing to accept old notes.


Some transporters and traders rejected the old N500 and N1,000 bank notes yesterday, despite the CBN’s directive that the old notes remain legal tender until December 31, in accordance with the Supreme Court’s decision.


Many traders in Kaduna remained skeptical of collecting the old notes. The majority of them stated that they were looking into the situation to see if the policy would be changed.


“I can’t collect it until Buhari (President) tells us to,” Muhammad Isah, a yam seller, said.


However, Daily Trust has learned that market leaders in Lagos have begun to educate their members about the importance of collecting old notes in accordance with the CBN’s directives. Yesterday, leaders from major markets convened in Alausa.


“I have informed my people, and I will do so again tomorrow. “We have told them to accept old notes from customers,” Alhaja Kasarat Adebayo, Iyaloja of Asejere Market in Makoko, said.


The state government is urging residents to accept old bills.


The Delta State government issued a statement yesterday urging residents to follow the Central Bank of Nigeria’s directive that the old N1,000, N500, and N200 notes remain legal tender until December 31.


The Commissioner for Information, Charles Aniagwu, made the call in a statement issued in Asaba, urging people in the state to accept the notes as legal tender in light of the Supreme Court’s March 3 ruling and the central bank’s directive to continue accepting the old bills as legal tender.


Ogun, Kogi, Lagos, Kano, and Jigawa have all issued similar calls.


Experts advise CBN to inject old notes to alleviate cash shortages.


Experts have urged the CBN to reissue old notes, particularly the N500 and N1000, in order to alleviate the current cash shortage.


According to the Daily Trust, prior to the implementation of the cashless policy, the CBN stated that N3.2 trillion was in circulation, but during his most recent briefing, Emefiele stated that N2.3 trillion had been mopped up.


Prof. Uche Uwaleke, a financial analyst, told Daily Trust that the Supreme Court’s directive will be pointless unless the old notes are injected into the system.


“My concern is that unless a significant amount of previously withdrawn notes is re-injected and the cash withdrawal limit is eased, cash scarcity will most likely persist,” he said.


“It is one thing for the CBN to obey the Supreme Court order by recognizing the old notes as legal order, and it is quite another for it to make the cash available for transactions,” he continued.


“Although some banks have complied with the CBN’s directive following the Supreme Court judgment, the amount they are dispensing is quite small,” said Joseph Momoh, a development expert.


“The CBN should make available the old notes that it previously mopped up so that the current hardship that micro, small, and medium enterprises are experiencing can gradually ease off.”


According to Umar Mohammed, a chartered accountant who consults for some banks, resolving the cash crunch issue will require political will.


“Nobody is claiming that the entire N2.3 trillion mopped up must be returned. It is clear, however, that Nigeria is not fully prepared for the cashless policy.


“We have learnt many lessons that the banks do not have the requisite infrastructure. There are millions of unbanked Nigerians. Citizens must also be educated.


“Therefore, I want to appeal that the president and the CBN swallow their pride and appreciate these facts. To their credit, some people have already embraced the cashless policy.


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