Banks run out of fresh naira, while ATMs are still issuing old notes due to the increased demand.
The disbursement of the redesigned N1,000, N500, and N200 bills finally commenced on Thursday, over three weeks after they were unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Recall that Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had on October 26 announced plans to redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 denominations, while also declaring that the old notes would cease to be a legal tender by January 31, 2023.
Explaining why the policy had become pertinent, the CBN governor said redesigning the three series would help in tackling inflationary problems, currency counterfeiting, insecurity, and other issues bedeviling Nigeria.
Emefiele added that introducing the new notes will allow the apex bank to mop up currency-in-circulation and stifle ransom payments to kidnappers and terrorists.
As reported by The Punch, banks in several cities across the country, especially in Lagos and Abuja had, as early as 12 noon on Thursday, exhausted the small quantities of the new notes allocated to them from their head offices.[ruby_related heading=”More Read” total=5 layout=1]
The paper further discovered that several bank branches were yet to receive their new notes allocations with many bank officials saying they were still expecting the arrival of the new notes.
Some bank officials who spoke to The Punch on condition of anonymity disclosed that their allocations were very small.
An official of Access Bank Plc at the Ojodu branch in Lago who doesn’t want his name mentioned said, “Each cashier was given N100,000 of the new N1,000 bill for onward disbursements to customers seeking over-the-counter payments. We don’t have the other denominations of N500 and N200 yet. We don’t have enough supply of the new notes for now.”
This reporter discovered during his visit to several bank branches on Thursday that Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) were still dispensing old naira bills.
A man who had come to a Zenith Bank branch in Yaba, Lagos, left in disappointment after the ATM dispensed the old naira notes.
The customer told the Pulse correspondent that he came to withdraw from the machine with the hopes of getting his hands on the new naira notes
Similarly, The Punch also reported that the ATMs at the Access Bank in Ojodu were dispensing only old naira notes.
Meanwhile, the paper reported that customers were seen depositing old bills over the counter, while cashiers were paying out more of the old naira notes at the centre.
In a few instances, however, the cashiers were seen combining both the old and new naira notes together in the over-the-counter payments.
As observed in some bank halls on Thursday, The Punch reported that some customers refused to take the new notes following reports that some local traders were rejecting them as legal tender.
Confirming the situation, a bank teller in Ogba, Lagos told the paper that, “Some customers have been rejecting the new naira notes whenever we give them; they said the new notes would not be collected from them in the market; they prefer the old notes.”
The Punch also reported that only one of the 10 bank branches visited in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja paid their customers using the new notes.
In the same vein, only one of the ATM centres dispensed the new naira notes among the several ATM galleries visited in the FCT.
Banks visited by the paper include; Guaranty Trust Bank, First Bank Plc, Zenith Bank Plc, Taj Bank and Access Bank Plc situated at Jabi Garage and the Central Business District.