Nigerians wonder what happened to the newly redesigned naira notes introduced on December 15, 2022.
The scarcity of the new notes at ATMs and across the counter has left many speculating that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may be rethinking its purportedly poorly executed naira redesign policy.
The decline new naira notes shock Nigerians
The new notes began to steadily decline in circulation after the apex bank capitulated to a Supreme Court order which rendered the withdrawal of the old notes invalid.
Many believe that due to the pressure on the CBN to ease the cash crunch, which nearly crippled the economy between February and early March this year, it has decided against reprinting the new notes.
Clive Kennedy, a banker with one of the new-generation banks, told crossriverhub.ng that the absence of the new notes needs to be explained to bankers and customers.
He said he could not recall the last time the apex bank issued the new notes to his bank. Kennedy said:
“We are surprised as many of our customers. Imagine the pains Nigerians went through because of these new notes, and now they are rarely in circulation.”
According to the banker, he believes that CBN did not print enough of the new notes, and perhaps, Nigerians are hoarding them, too.
“The thinking among bankers is that CBN did not print enough of the new notes, and so the available few are being hoarded by Nigerians.”
When asked if he thought the scarcity of naira notes would return after the December deadline given by the Supreme Court, Kennedy said the incoming government might not allow it.
A trader in the Ipodo market in Ikeja, Comfort Babajide, said she believes CBN made a mistake with its policy and has tactically withdrawn the new notes.
Babajide said: “Why are the new notes not available? I am sure that CBN is withholding the new notes out of shame because of what Nigerians went through, or they may be phasing them out entirely. Despite the relative abundance of old naira notes, Nigerians are still apprehensive the scarcity might return after December.
“We are counting down to December to see if the scarcity would return,” Babajide said.
All efforts by Legit.ng to get CBN’s Director of Communication, Isa Abdulmumin, to comment on the issue were unsuccessful as his line was engaged. He did not respond to WhatsApp and text messages sent to his number.
Chaos greets CBN new naira policy
Recall that CBN announced on October 26, 2022, that it was embarking on redesigning the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, citing several reasons.
The apex bank introduced the new notes on December 15 and gave January 31, 2023, as the deadline for the cessation of the circulation of the old notes, which extended to February 10, 2023.
The deadline and subsequent scarcity led to an uproar among Nigerians, leading to the Supreme Court suspending the policy until December 31, 2023, after a lawsuit brought by some state governors.
The scarcity led to massive queues at ATM points and banking halls while Point of Sale (POS) operators hiked their charges.
Report: CBN to release another N500bn new naira notes for circulation, officials reveal reasons for the scarcity
According to the Nation, about N500 billion new notes have been injected into circulation since December 15, 2022, when the naira redesigned policy officially kicked off.
It is expected that the apex plan to pump more cash, pushing the number of new naira notes in circulation closer to N1 trillion.
Source : Legit.ng