Scarcity of redesigned Naira notes persists 

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With less than 30 days to the January 31, 2023 deadline given by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) when Nigeria’s old Naira note will ceased to be legal tender, the newly redesigned notes which began circulation last December 15 still remain elusive to majority of Nigerians.

It would be recalled that the apex bank had on October 26, 2022, announced the redesign of the N1000, N500 and N200 notes, for which it got the approval of the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).

The new naira banknotes, which began circulating nationwide from December 15, are yet to get into the major towns and villages where they are needed.

The continued scarcity of the redesigned banknotes in Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), over-the-counter transactions and Point of Sale (PoS) transaction points has angered many bank customer, who described it as bad for business.

According to Banks’ sources, customers who intentionally came to their bank branches to withdraw the new banknotes were disappointed at the persistent scarcity of the notes.

“We expected the cash management team to keep supplying the new banknotes and keeping away the old bank notes, but that is not the case. Aside the first supply on December 15 when we got the first set on new banknotes, only old banknotes were supplied in subsequent supplies,” the source said.

During the visit to some bank, it was discovered that all the cash bundles displayed at the counter were old banknotes.

Other bank customers said the limited circulation of the banknotes could put them under pressure to beat the January 31, deadline set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for all old banknotes to be returned to the banks.

According to a customer, Sina Dare, it is over two weeks since the new notes began circulation, but he is yet to receive even one note.

“I keep hearing that there is new banknotes in town but I have not even touched one of them. This will make it difficult to beat the January 31 deadline for all old notes to get to the banks,” he said.

An economist, Tope Fasua, said the scarcity of the banknotes could be a deliberate policy plan by the Central Bank of Nigeria to strengthen the naira.