Two states, Kano and Borno, have experienced scarcity of the Naira notes ahead of the deadline for the use of the old N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes, as earlier announced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Recall that the CBN had previously announced that the old Naira notes would remain legal tender until December 31, 2023, in compliance with the Supreme Court’s order.
Former CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, had unveiled plans to redesign the N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, urging citizens to deposit their old notes before January 31, 2023, as they would no longer be accepted as legal tender. A development that brought untold hardship on Nigerians across board spiking protests and attacks on banks in various cities across the country.
However, a few weeks before the CBN deadline, business communities in Kano and Borno states have expressed concerns about the Naira scarcity resurfacing.
A CBN official, who reportedly spoke to Daily Trust on the development, however, stated that there was no plan to “phase out the old notes”.
The media platform also quoted a Point of Sales (PoS) operator in Kano, Abdullahi Usman, to have said banks only allowed withdrawals of between N40,000 and N50,000 daily for individuals and N150,000 to N200,000 for corporate entities.
According to him, he gets his cash supply from the markets where cash transactions usually take place.
“As a PoS operator, I can’t give more than N20,000 to individuals because most banks only allow us to have N40,000 to N50,000 daily. I learnt that only owners of corporate accounts can get N150,000 to N200,000. If you go around town, you will find out that most of the PoS centres now have less cash compared to some weeks ago,” he said.
He said the approaching CBN’s December deadline had made many people deposit their money in banks to avoid being trapped after December 31.
Another PoS operator, Bello Shehu, said he had since resorted to accessing cash from fuel stations instead of the banks because they (banks) don’t usually have enough cash to give to customers.
“I get my cash from fuel stations because the cash we get from the banks nowadays is limited and can’t cater for our customers’ demands,” he said.
It was noticed that despite the absence of long queues at bank ATMs, a majority of them were not dispensing cash. A shop owner in Hotoro, Nassarawa Local Government Area of Kano, Muhammed Gambo, reported his inability to access cash from ATMs in recent times. Likewise, a civil servant from the Kano State Government shared that he was unable to withdraw his October salary from six ATMs and had to resort to PoS, where he could only obtain half of the required amount.