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JUST I:New naira pains persist despite fresh CBN orders

Deposit Money Banks say they are beginning to run out of the old N1,000, N500, and N200 notes just three days after the Central Bank of Nigeria declared them legal tender.

On Wednesday, a number of bank customers attempting to withdraw funds encountered severe difficulties as a result of the development.

On Monday, the CBN instructed banks to pay their customers for the old notes and accept them.

This came after Major General Muhammadu Buhari, the President, stated that he did not prevent the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Attorney General of the Federation Office from complying with the Supreme Court’s decision that old naira notes should remain legal tender until December 31, 2023.

However, on Wednesday, commercial banks informed The PUNCH that they had begun to run out of the old N1,000, N500, and N200 notes that they had begun to distribute to their customers on Tuesday.

As a result, a number of bank customers were left stranded in banking halls and major cities and towns.

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Some bank employees claimed that they had run out of old currency in their vaults, while others stated that their stocks of old notes were beginning to run low.

This took place in the midst of a severe shortage of new notes, which resulted in lengthy lines in several cities’ ATM galleries and banking halls.

Multiple sources close to the CBN told one of our correspondents on Wednesday that the apex bank might not release the old notes in its custody to banks anytime soon, arguing that doing so might be tantamount to reversing the “progress” it had achieved on the cashless initiative. The CBN has kept mum on whether it will release additional old notes into circulation. This is due to the CBN’s determination to push the cashless policy initiative to a logical conclusion.

Likewise, a senior bank leader who talked on state of namelessness, said, “The CBN didn’t print an adequate number of new notes and doesn’t have any desire to return the old notes it has gathered in light of the fact that it is as yet driving its credit only strategy.”

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Also, a senior executive in the industry who is close to the CBN said that the apex bank might change its cashless policy and not return the old notes to banks.

According to the managing director of a tier-2 bank, the CBN had not yet officially informed banks whether it would give them old notes.

“We don’t know if the CBN has destroyed the old notes that are in its custody or not,” he stated. Even though banks don’t have a lot of these old notes in their vaults, we don’t yet know if it will release them to them again. Once more, tragically, clients are not keeping much.”

“Most of us anticipate that the CBN will distribute the old notes prior to Saturday.” We are concerned, however, that they might not do so to stop vote-buying on Saturday.

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According to The PUNCH’s findings from Wednesday, banks were running out of old notes and new notes.

On Wednesday, a number of banks stated that their stock of old notes had decreased.

The PUNCH was informed by a representative of the FCMB branch in Ikeja that the bank had run out of old notes by 2 p.m.

By 2 p.m., we had run out of old notes. We have yet to receive any new supplies from our headquarters because it does not have any. He stated, “We can only hope the CBN will supply soon.”

In the meantime, a Wednesday visit to the branches of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Heritage Bank, and United Bank for Africa Plc in the Navy Town, Ojo, and Alakija areas of Lagos State revealed that none of the banks had cash available for customers.

Officials stated that the center could not predict when cash would be delivered to the First Bank branch in Navy Town.

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