Naira Crisis; Same old story as CBN is yet to release old Naira notes to Banks
Despite asking commercial banks in the country to commence their recirculation of old notes, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has yet to release the old N1000 and N500 to the banks.
According to the Daily Trust, the non-release of the old notes is part of the reasons making the commercial banks to struggle with the increasing demands of customers who besiege their branches across the states and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
The newspaper reported that traders, artisans, PoS operators, and students, among others, who visited bank branches, said they were disappointed as they could not withdraw the amounts they wanted.
Those who spoke to the newspaper said they were only given between N5,000 and N10,000 while a few others managed to get N20,000.
It will be recalled that the CBN had on Monday said in a statement by its spokesman, Isa AbdulMumin, that deposit money banks operating in the country have been directed to comply with the Supreme Court ruling of March 3 which said the old N1,000, N500 and N200 remain legal tender until December 31.
The CBN’s statement came a few hours after a statement from Aso Villa 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 judgement.
But investigations by the Daily Trust on Monday indicated that the CBN was not releasing the old notes it has already mopped out of circulation.
A senior management staff of Guarantee Trust Bank told the newspaper that: “We are not receiving any old cash from the CBN. I have a substantial stock of the old notes and that is what we are recirculating as of today.”
The source explained that most commercial banks had retained the old notes in the days leading up to the February 10 deadline, before the Supreme Court order truncated the initial timeline by the CBN.
“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 that we have built up.”
Also, a management staff of Polaris Bank who spoke to the newspaper 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 get a clear understanding of things when we exhaust what we have.”
In Kaduna, Abuja, and Kano, it was gathered that some banks, including Sterling, GTB, First Bank, United Bank of Africa (UBA) and Access Bank were yesterday dispensing the old N500 notes to their customers following the directive by the CBN.
A customer at Sterling Bank who simply identified herself as Mrs Gabriel, said, “I collected N20,000 old N500 notes from my bank today. I am so happy because I have not seen this kind of money for weeks.”
The automated teller machines of most banks in Lagos were also seen dispensing cash.
Although most of the banks were still rationing the available cash in order to meet the needs of their customers, there was a clear improvement from the chaos of previous weeks.
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