If you’re a Nigerian and you’ve been able to get the new naira notes (without stress), say hi.
*inserts cricket sounds*
It has been “survival of the fittest” to get Nigeria’s new naira notes. Ever since CBN governor, Godwin “Meffy” Emefiele launched them in November 2022, Nigerians have not been able to get easy access to these notes.
To add to the commotion, a crazy deadline was earlier set for January 31, 2023, for phasing out the old naira notes. But still, no new naira notes were in sight.
However, today is February 1, which is a day after the deadline. Has anything changed? Here are the latest updates we have concerning CBN and this issue so far:
The deadline has been extended to February 10
Nigerians currently have 9 days to stop spending the old naira notes before it ‘expires’. Although Nigerians can still deposit old notes at banks after this deadline, it just would cease to be legal tender.
But there is STILL a scarcity of new naira notes in banks
Most commercial banks in Nigeria have found it very hard to obtain an adequate supply of new naira notes from the CBN. This has produced very frustrated Nigerians who have even fought at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in a bid to get the new naira.
But this doesn’t seem to go down, even with the extension deadline. A teacher, Ebele* in Ajah, Lagos told Citizen about her ordeal with collecting new naira notes from commercial banks as of today.
According to her “As I’ve done for the past five days, I went to five different ATMs close to my place of residence and three of them weren’t dispensing cash at all. The remaining two have only been dispensing money in N100 denominations. Even when I went to Fidelity Bank at Ajiwe, they were only able to give me up to N5000 in N100 and N20 notes.
A software developer based in Abuja, Favour* told Citizen that he has gone “completely cashless” since the naira note scarcity started.
“I can remember the last time I used an ATM on January 14. On that day, I went to the Guaranty Trust Bank branch in Kubwa for almost five hours to ‘cop’ my new naira notes. Only for me to reach my turn and these naira notes had finished, both in the bank and everywhere. Since that day, it’s only cashless transactions I have been making with my bank app.”
But even mobile banking apps are having issues
For the past couple of days, many Nigerians like Favour have been going the cashless route via mobile app and USSD transactions, but even that hasn’t worked out.
Popular commercial banks like Guaranty Trust Bank (GTBank), United Bank for Africa (UBA), Zenith bank and even digital banks like Kuda have had complaints from several customers. This is concerning their inability to make transactions on the respective bank apps, amongst other issues.
POS operators and money changers are cashing out
According to a source from Fidelity Bank at Ajiwe, Ajah, these sets of people are heavy contributors as to why the new naira notes are so scarce.
“Most times, these POS operators come in through the back of the bank premises very early in the morning (before working hours) and are able to withdraw the already scarce new notes in high volume. The banks also need the money too so they can’t refuse.” the source said.
This may be true as POS operators have been reported to charge as high as N1,000 for N10,000 in new notes due to its scarcity.
Money changers are also not left out. In a viral video released on January 30, large volumes of new naira notes were sprayed at a wedding, which makes one wonder — are the new naira notes really scarce, or are they hoarded?
One thing Nigerians can agree with for sure is that Meffy certainly needs to provide an effective means of supplying the new naira notes nationwide, otherwise things could really start to get ugly.
We write the news and track the 2023 elections for citizens, by citizens in our weekly newsletter, Game of Votes. Make the subscription of a lifetime here.