Hours To Deadline, No Rush To Deposit Old Naira Notes

Hours to the deadline when old Naira notes would cease to be legal tender, there was no rush to deposit old notes as anticipated.

Our reporters who visited several banks in Abuja, the nation’s capital, Thursday, observed unusual calm at all banks’ premises.

Some branches visited did not open to customers at all because their officials claimed that they did not receive any new notes from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) the previous day; while those that opened at all, closed earlier than the normal 4: 00 pm closing time.

Earlier in the day, one of the tier one banks sent messages to its customers to alert them that the deadline when old N200, N500 and the N1, 000 Naira notes would no longer be legal tender was fast approaching and advised them to deposit such notes in the bank before it was too late.

There was anxiety among members of the public on whether the Central Bank of Nigeria would be allowed to maintain the February 10 deadline or not.

Our correspondents who met customers at various banks’ premises reported that the deadline and the persistent scarcity of the new Naira notes were the dominant topics of discussion.

The scarcity of the new notes persisted, Thursday, as even the Point of Sales (POS) operators who used to be the last resort for most members of the public did not have the much-sought-after currency to dispense.

Two weeks ago, anyone withdrawing N10,000 of the new notes was made to pay N1,500. By last week and early this week, the cost of withdrawing N10,000 moved to N2,000.

However, most POS shops were closed. The few that were in operation were giving out old notes and the cost had risen from between N1, 000-N1, 500 to N2, 000.

They complained that even after spending many hours in queues at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), they were forced to leave without being able to make any withdrawal.

Almost all the ATMs in over 18 banks’ branches visited by our correspondents were empty, as only one branch of Sterling Bank at Area 8, Garki was dispensing, with a crowd of customers waiting to take their turns.

Culled from Vanguard

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