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Despite CBN deadline, banks still dispensing old notes, rationing new ones, Nigerians lament

Some residents of Enugu, South-East Nigeria, have complained of the rationing of new naira notes despite Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) assurance that it would flood the banks.

The apex bank had assured while announcing its cash policy that the newly redesigned naira notes would be in circulation in commercial banks from December 15. It also gave a January 31, 2023 deadline for the withdrawal of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes.

However, reporters who monitored some commercial banks on Thursday in Enugu, observed that most customers were only given two pieces of the new naira note in their withdrawal money.

Instead of the banks issuing the new notes, they are still issuing bundles of old notes that are “so worn out” and “some even sellotaped.”

Cyril Madueke, a customer of a new generation bank along Zik Avenue, said that he came to the bank to drop his old notes and make some fresh withdrawal, “but to my surprise, I was still given the old notes.”

“This is not what the apex bank said initially, as I had it in mind that I am saying bye-bye to the old naira notes today.

“However, I am now going home with the same old note from the bank,” Mr Madueke said.

Jude Nweke, another customer in an old generation bank in Enugu, said that for the two times he withdrew money since December 15, “it is only two pieces of the new naira notes that were issued to me.”

“It is regrettable that only two pieces of the new naira notes were given to each customer to ‘top and garnish’ the bundle of the N1,000 old notes issued to them by the bank.

“I heard from the CBN clearly that people will start receiving the new redesigned naira notes fully from December 15 and it will definitely mark the end of issuing old notes by the banks,” Mr Nweke said.

An Enugu-based trader, Mike Onyeka, urged the apex bank and commercial banks to be “sure and specific” in what they want to do and be consistent with information they push out to the public.

Mr Onyeka said: “We welcomed the new Naira redesign policy of the CBN with joy and open hands.

“We wish the policy formulators and implementers stick to the original plans and the information pushed out to the members of the public based on it.”


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