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Business News of Thursday, 26 January 2023


No cash supply at ATM points over scarcity of new notes

New Naira notes New Naira notes

IT was hectic yesterday for Nigerians to withdraw the new naira notes from their bank accounts through the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).

Many banks, for fear of being sanctioned by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), refused to feed the ATM’s with the old N1,000 and N500 bills.

In a bid to compel the banks to dispense the redesigned naira notes, the apex bank had threatened to slam N1 million fine on erring banks daily.

The new naira notes scarcity entered a critical stage in Lagos yesterday where ATMs stopped dispensing cash to cardholders, who thronged several banks to get cash.

With ATMs out of cash, many bank customers, who ran into banking halls for cash, had only one option – to take the old notes.

CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele told reporters after Tuesday’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting that the January 31 deadline to phase out the old N1,000, N500 and N200 remains sacrosanct.

At the Matori branches of Fidelity Bank, FirstBank, Zenith Bank, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Unity Bank, GTBank, Access Bank, Ecobank, Sterling Bank, Globus Bank, none of the ATMs were dispensing cash.

Kareem Adigun, one of the cardholders, said he had checked at all the banks’ ATMs and none dispensed cash.

“I have checked all the ATMs in Matori to make cash withdrawal, but none of them is dispensing cash. At the banking halls, the banks are only paid old notes,” he said.

When the CBN monitoring team visited the Zenith Bank’s Epe branch, in Lagos, only one of the six ATMs was dispensing cash.

That was the only ATM working in the entire Epe, Lagos leading to a very long queue in the bank. The ATMs of other banks’ branches in Epe, including Polaris Bank and FirstBank, were not dispensing cash.

One of the cardholders, Tunde Kabir, said he has been in the branch since 10am and is yet to get cash.

“We have been here, and only one ATM is working. I am yet to make a withdrawal since morning,” he said.

Speaking during the CBN’s sensitization programme on the new naira notes in Epe, CBN Deputy Director, Moses Ademosu, said any bank that loads old notes will be sanctioned.

He said the apex bank was monitoring the ATMs to ensure compliance because the Tuesday deadline for returning old notes is sacrosanct.

“We are not going to shift the deadline to return old notes to the banks. Let the people know that there will be no extension of that deadline,” he said.

The CBN team also visited Oluwo Modern Fish Market, Epe, Lagos, and several ATMs to ensure old notes were not dispensed. They told the market leaders that the deadline for returning the old notes to the banks will not be extended.

Also speaking, CBN Deputy Director, Reserve Management Department, Mohammed Solaja, said the apex bank is committed to making the new notes available.

He said the notes have been supplied to the banks, and the CBN is working on ensuring that the notes are available.

CBN Deputy Director, Other Financial Institutions Supervision Department, Mrs. Monsurat Vincent, said people will gain more by embracing cash-less banking.

She said the ultimate goal of the CBN is to ensure that people begin to carry out their transactions electronically to save cost and resources.

Speaking during the CBN’s team visit, Oba Kamorudeen Ishola Animashaun, the Oloja of Epe, said the scarcity of the new naira notes is worrisome.

He said the new naira notes are not available, adding that the CBN should compel the banks to make the new notes available to their customers.

The monarch said: “We need to be very careful. This is election year. That’s why we insist that the new notes should be available. The banks are still paying old notes.

“For the alternate e-payment channels the CBN is canvassing for, many people still do not know how to make electronic transfers. The CBN should leave room for the poor who cannot transfer money electronically.”

According to Oba Animashaun, many people, especially the low- income earners, avoid e-payment channels because of the huge charges that they attract.

He praised the government and the CBN team for their efforts and promised to take the message to his people in 54 villages in Epe through the town crier so that the whole villages will know about government’s stand as regards to the old notes.

“I will inform my people that the deadline will not be extended, but please, make the new notes available,” he told the CBN team.

The Olu Epe of Epe, Oba Sefiu Olatunji Adewale, appealed to the government for extension of the deadline, based on the peculiarity of Epe.

“For me, this is not the first time I am seeing the new notes. However, it is difficult for me to get the new note and if it is difficult for me as their leader, then, be rest assured that it is also difficult for them to get it. So, I call for the extension of the deadline,” he said.

The story was however, different in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

It was discovered that 24 hours after the CBN ruled out extension, most banks in the FCT have increased the volume of new notes they dispense.

At the Garki 2 branch of the First City Monument Bank (FCMB), the ATMs were seen dispensing new notes and a staff of the bank confirmed to The Nation that they now dispense more new notes than the old notes.

The same was true of Sterling Bank, at the Central Business District. The Nation observed that the ATMs were dispensing new notes and a staff member also confirmed that “the bank is dispensing more new notes”.

At Zenith Bank on Ralph Sodehinde street, behind the Federal Ministry of Finance, the two ATMs were dispensing a mix of both old and new notes when The Nation visited the bank around 3pm yesterday.

Emefiele had disclosed on Tuesday that all banks had been instructed to ramp up the volume of new notes they feed into their ATMs.

He said: “We mandated them and said no more payment of new notes over the counter ‘which gives the opportunity for it to be given to friends’ but pay all new notes through the ATM which is a robot and everybody has to queue to get it and that has worked.”

The CBN boss also confirmed the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) was still printing more new notes to supply the banking system.

Lagos traders, Ortom appeal for extension

Traders in Badagry, Lagos State and Benue State Governor Samuel Ortom appealled to the Central Bank to extend the January 31 deadline.

The traders said the deadline should be shifted because most of their customers still come to the markets with old notes.

At Mowo market, most of the traders said they had yet to see the new notes.

Wasiu Alade, a goat meat seller in the market, said: “All transactions here are done with the old naira notes. We only see the new notes at parties or social engagements where people that sell new naira notes asked us to exchange them for additional money.

“It is not that we don’t want the government to change the old currency, but they should let the money circulate.

“Rich people who have collected the new notes are hoarding them. So, we use the old notes,”

Also, Helen Bojrenu, a pepper seller at Agbalata Market, said:” We only see the notes on television sets. They have not started spending them here in Badagry.

“Government should pity the traders and extend the deadline so that the new notes can circulate very well in all parts of the country.”

In Makurdi, Ortom argued that with only a few days left, people in far Benue communities and the hinterland would find it hard to deposit their old notes in the banks.

The governor, who said he has not seen the new notes, asked: “How are we going to transfer the old notes in my village knowing people are going there to buy rice, yams one other good?

“As a governor, I have not seen any new note. We don’t have any issue with other policies of the government, but on this one, I join the National Assembly to call on the President( Muhammadu Buhari) to look at the deadline critically with a view to extending it.”

He spoke when he received the newly inaugurated Governing Council of Joseph Saawuan Tarka University, Makurdi, (JOSTUM)…

*Banks dispense old, new notes, limit withdrawals

In the Federal Capital Territory(FCT) and states across the country, it was a mixture of developments for customers.

While customers in the FCT had it smooth depositing old notes and withdrawing new notes from both the banking halls and Automatic Teller Machine(ATM) terminals, those in the states did not

In the FCT, most banks increased the volume of new notes they dispensed.

At the Garki 2 branch of First City Monument Bank (FCMB) ATMs dispensed new notes to the satisfaction of customers.

An official of the bank said they dispensed more new notes than old.

The situation was the same at the Sterling Bank branch in the Central Business District and Zenith Bank behind the Federal Ministry of Finance.

In Osogbo, Osun State, there were long queues at ATM terminals with customers lamenting being paid old notes.

A customer, Ademitoro Ojekunle, said: “I deposited the old notes only to get the same old notes through ATM.”

ATMs in Asaba were also not dispensing the new notes.

Investigation revealed that banks were hoarding the new notes from ordinary customers, but giving the same to their influential clients.

Point of Sale(POS) agents, who accused the banks for refusing to load their ATMs with new notes, said they were in a quandary whether to reject customers that intended to deposit old notes or not.

Some business outfits also rejected the old naira notes in Kano State, but banks paid a maximum of N40,000 of the new notes to customers. They pegged maximum withdrawals ATMs at N20,000.

In Adamawa State where many small business operators and petty traders turned down the old notes, most ATMs did not dispense the new notes.

At the Abubakar Olusola Saraki Abattoir, Akerebiata in Ilorin, meat sellers turned back customers that be because they did not have new notes.

A housewife, who gave her name simply as Yetunde said: “I was at the abattoir yesterday but I did not get meat to buy because I did not have new notes. ” Even my regular customer did not have cows to slaughter as sellers in far North refused to accept old naira notes from him.”

Many people in Anambra State have also stopped receiving old naira notes even though the new notes are still scarce.

A visit to some ATMs showed that they neither had the old nor the new currencies to dispense to eager customers.

In Ebonyi where a few ATMs dispensed the new notes, customers were unable to withdraw above N20,000.

Rivers and Imo State residents also lamented that old naira notes were being issued to them through ATMs.

“All the ATMs are working but they are paying old notes,” said a female resident

Another resident claimed that only Bureau de change operators in the city were issuing out the new notes to persons selling foreign currencies to them.

Findings in Cross River State showed that some commercial Banks were hoarding the new notes

Many ATMs in the state were not paying but the few that did paid both the old and notes.

In Adamawa where traders and artisans reject the old notes, the CBN assured that there was enough of the new notes in the state.

“There is no reason to reject the old notes for now because they remain legal tender until January 31,” she said, adding that this leaves everyone enough time to have their old notes exchanged,” CBN’s Director of Internal Audit Department Lydia Alfa, said.

Alfa, who led officials of the apex bank on sensitisation tour of the 21 councils in the state, added that banks had ” long been told to feed their ATMs with only new notes.”


ATMs in Benin, Edo State and Makurdi in Benue State also dispensed regulated amounts of the new notes to anxious customers.

Most of the ATMs along Sapele, Airport, Akpakpava, Mission and Ekenwan roads in the state capital allowed just one transaction of between N5,000 and N20,000 of the new notes.

An official of a new generation bank on Airport Road, who spoke in confidence, said that regulating the sums being dispensed by ATMs was for the “little” available cash to go round

In Nasarawa State, some rural dwellers said that the timing was too short for the currency exchange and appealed for its extension.

Rabiu Abogye, a trader in Doma, said the policy had encouraged him to open a bank account and that he was already enjoying the ease of transaction.

Traders in Adamawa, who also stopped accepting the old notes, lamented difficulties in getting the new notes from commercial banks.

They said they spend more time at banks to change the old notes than in their business premises.