RESIDENTS and traders in Osogbo, Osun capital, have appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for extension of the time in which the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes cease to be legal tenders in the country.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the CBN had said that it was not considering extension of time for the old currency notes to be withdrawn from circulation.
Speaking with NAN correspondent on Tuesday, a cross section of residents and traders in Osogbo complained that some banks were still dispensing the old Naira notes.
They were concerned that if the new Naira notes were not made available, a lot of people would be stuck with the old notes by the expiration date of the deadline.
Mr Adeniji Awolola, a resident of Osogbo, explained that, as at yesterday, when he went to withdraw money from his bank, he was still paid with freshly minted old N1,000 notes.
“Although their Automated Teller Machines (ATM) are dispensing the new Naira notes, customers were still being paid with the old notes over the counter.
“My worry is, after withdrawing money for business transactions in large amount, or being paid with the old Naira notes, how will ordinary Nigerians swap the old notes with the new ones before the Jan. 31 deadline?
“This becomes more worrisome when we take into consideration that some business owners only deal with cash.
“I just hope the CBN would extend the deadline, at least for a month, to enable the new notes to circulate well enough before phasing out the old notes.” he said.
Another resident, Mr Timothy Adeoye, said his worry was for old people and those living in areas where there are no banks.
“We know that most of our old parents don’t have the luxury or strength to go to banks for transactions, so they always keep their little feeding money at home.
“I don’t know if enlightenment about the new Naira notes has got to them, but I think if the CBN will not extend the deadline, these old people should be given exception to swap the money they have at home, when they are able to do so.”
“It is true that there is a limit to how much an individual can keep at home that will not constitute money laundering, but these old people couldn’t have kept or have that kind of money at home.” he said.
Similarly, Mrs Adetutu Damola, a trader at Alekuwodo Market, Osogbo, said that a lot of her customers were still paying her with the old Naira notes and that she had only seen or received the new notes a couple of times.
“Most of us, traders, hardly have time to take money to the bank on daily basis for deposit and we often circulate the money we have to buy more goods.
“If the CBN insists that the deadline would be Jan.31, it means we, too, will stop collecting the old notes a week or some days to the deadline in order to avoid having the old notes in our possession after the deadline.
“Our customers are complaining that the new notes are not available in their banks and that’s why they are paying us with the old notes. So, does that mean we should start rejecting the old notes?
“I think the CBN should allow the new notes to be available to everyone before it phases out the old notes.” she said
Mr Yusuf Adeleye, a furniture maker in Osogbo, said that though they were often paid by their customers through money transfers, some still pay them with cash.
Adeleye said that going by the CBN deadline, “it means we will stop collecting cash all together, and we will switch fully to cashless transactions”.
“If , God forbid, I sell a piece of furniture worth N300,000 to a customer on Jan. 31 and I collect cash but unable to get to my bank before the close of work at 4.00 p.m., what happens to the cash in my possession?
“With the old Naira notes deadline now, it means we have to stop collecting cash, to prevent getting stuck with the old currency after the deadline,” he said
NAN correspondent, however, observed that some ATMs in Osogbo, which were dispensing the new Naira notes, had long queues of persons waiting to make withdrawals, while some ATMs were still dispensing the old Naira notes.
Some banks customers equally confirmed to NAN correspondent that they were paid with the new Naira notes over the counter by their banks while some said they still got paid with the old notes.
NAN recalls that the CBN had at a sensitization rally to markets in Osogbo on Friday, assured that it had printed enough Naira notes for circulation.
The CBN governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, who was represented by CBN Deputy Director, Mr Adeleke Adelokun, said the CBN had observed that some commercial banks were not keen about collecting the new notes from the CBN to dispense to customers.
Adedokun said that the CBN had consequently imposed a fine of N1 million on any bank that failed to collect the new notes as sanction per money box per day. (NAN)