Slow circulation as newly redesigned naira notes go into use

THE newly redesigned currency notes of N1000, N500 and N200 began circulating across the country today, but with most citizens practically unable to lay their hands on them.

Nigerians had been eagerly looking forward to today, December 15, the date the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had given as the commencement date of circulation of the redesigned notes to, at least, have a feel.

Most people were, however, disappointed as the automated teller machines they visited did not dispense the new notes.


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The notes were, however, available in banking halls, which were filled with the size of crowds that had become unusual since the advent of ATMs in public spaces.

The ICIR checks in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, showed that ATMs and point-of-sale centres could not yet dispense the new notes.

A PoS merchant in Kubwa, Yomi Odunaike, told The ICIR that the UBA branch at Kubwa where he normally got cash for transactions was yet to commence dispensing of the redesigned currency notes.

“We were told to keep checking at the bank, and that most likely between tomorrow and Monday, they would be very available. Even from their ATMs, I’m yet to see the new notes being dispensed,” Odunaike said.

A trader at Gwarimpa, Mohammed Yunusa, said he monitored the market but had not seen people exchanging the new legal tender. According to him, even the PoS transaction services around his business premises were not dispensing the new cash.

Yunusa said, “My shop is very strategic here in Gwarimpa and I have looked around but am yet to see anyone with the new currency notes.”

Another PoS operator, Kelechi Okpala, said he got the new notes from a bank, which he said was rationing them.

Okpala said, “For those of us in the PoS business, my bank is rationing it for us at N20,000, begining with N500 notes. I am sure that by next week, the spread will grow.”

The situation is the same in Lagos, with the new notes still unavailable at ATMs, but being given out in banking halls.

The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, had assured the people of the ready availability of the new notes, urging them to embrace electronic channels available for banking and financial service transactions.






     

     

    “The newly redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 bank notes are now in banks and ready for issuance to members of the public.

    “The currency redesign and reintroduced cashless policies are not targeted at anybody but are for the good and development of the Nigerian economy,” Emefiele had said.

    He had also advised Nigerians to retire their old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes in banks before the January 31, 2023, deadline.

    The CBN disclosed Nigerians had already deposited about N2 trillion of the notes being rested in banks.

    Harrison Edeh is a journalist with the International Centre for Investigative Reporting, always determined to drive advocacy for good governance through holding public officials and businesses accountable.

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