Banks run out of new naira, demand increases

Marcus Amudipe
Marcus Amudipe

 

About 24 hours after the new naira notes officially entered circulation, reports revealed that banks have run out of the newly-printed denominations leading to increased demand.

The shortage of the newly released naira notes stemmed from the limited amounts given to banks by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

The newly redesigned N1,000, N500 and N200 notes finally became legal tender on December 15, 2022, over three weeks after the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), unveiled them at the weekly Federal Executive Council meeting.

The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had on October 26 announced plans to redesign the N200, N500 and N1,000 notes, while also declaring that the old denominations would cease to be a legal tender by January 31, 2022.

After random visits to banking hall on Thursday, especially in Lagos and Abuja, it was observed that several bank branches had run out of the small quantities of the new notes allocated to them from their head offices as early as 12 noon.

Additional research revealed that several bank branches had not yet received their new note allocations, and numerous bank officials had said that the new notes were still anticipated.

A number of the bank branches visited in Lagos had exhausted their new note allocations. Officials at some of the centers that still had the new notes, however, said their allocations were very small.

An official of Access Bank Plc at the Ojodu branch in Lagos, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak on the matter, said, “Each cashier was given N100,000 of the new N1,000 bill for onward disbursements to customers seeking over-the-counter payments. We don’t have the other denominations of N500 and N200 yet. We don’t have enough supply of the new notes for now.”

It was also observed that the ATMs at the bank branch were dispensing only old naira notes.

While cashiers were dispensing more old naira notes at the center, customers could be seen depositing the old bills over the counter.

Meanwhile, in some of the banking halls visited, some customers snubbed the new notes due to reports that some local traders were rejecting them as legal tender.

As a result, a few bank clients declined to accept the new notes for over-the-counter transactions.

Confirming the situation, a bank teller in Ogba, Lagos said that, “Some customers have been rejecting the new naira notes whenever we give them; they said the new notes would not be collected from them in the market; they prefer the old notes.”

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