Bank customers decry scarcity of new Naira notes at ATMs, POS



By Joy Odigie

Bank customers in Benin, have decried scarcity of the new Naira notes at Atomated Teller Machines (ATMs) as well as Point of Sales (POS).

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) recalls that the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN), had announced Jan. 31, 2023 as deadline for the use as well as deposit of old N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes in banks.

NAN also reports that the apex bank has also threatened to sanction banks still dispensing the old N200, N500 and N1000 notes through their (ATMs).

Some of the residents, who spoke to NAN appealed to the apex bank to extend the deadline for use of the old currencies.

Mrs Grace Emeka, a petty trader at Oregbeni market, told NAN that she was still accepting the old naira notes from her customers.

Emeka, however, said that she would stop collecting the old notes by Jan. 29, to avoid having to rush to deposit the old notes at the bank by Jan. 30 and 31.

She said, “the new notes are scarce. None of my customers has used the money to buy something from me since the new notes were released into circulation.

“I recently opened a bank account so that my customers buying things above N2,000 can transfer money to the account.”

Mr Moses Idemudia, a POS operator, told NAN that he was still doing withdrawals and deposits with the old Naira notes due to scarcity of the new notes

Idemudia said, “I will deposit all my old N200, N500 and N1000 notes in the bank on Monday, Jan. 30 and would stop collecting old money from them.

“Many bank customers want the new money but it is not available and the limited supply might cause a hike in the fees we usually charge for withdrawals and deposits,” he said.

Mr Larry Enabulele, the Cordinator, Edo Civil Society Organisation, Igueben Local Government Council Study Centre, said that most traders in the council had stopped accepting the old Naira notes

“Today being January 25, some traders and shop owners have stopped accepting the old N200, N500 and N1000 notes.

“The new notes are not in circulation. We have deposited our old notes in the bank and we cannot buy food stuff from local women.

“The CBN agents have yet to arrive in the local government council to swap the old notes for the new notes,” he said.

He urged the CBN to extend the deadline by six months on the stoppage of the use of the old notes to avoid unnecessary panic among rural dwellers.

“Traders are saying that they cannot accept the old notes from consumers because the only commercial bank (Union Bank) in the LGA is saying that it will stop accepting the old currency by Jan. 26,” he said.

NAN, however, observed that ATMs at Wema Bank, UBA and First Bank, at Akpakpava Road axis of Benin were dispensing the new Naira notes but with limits of N20,000 to N30,000 withdrawal.

At Ecobank at Ikpoba Hill, bank customers could only withdraw N5,000 with the new notes across the counter while the bank’s ATM wasn’t dispensing cash.

Mr Favour Lucky, a customer at Ecobank, expressed displeasure over the N5,000 withdrawal limit, noting that he wanted to withdraw N40,000 to pay a client who requested for cash and not transfer.

“CBN has to extend the deadline because it is making the masses to go through unnecessary stress.

‘Some clients don’t want transfer as payment, especially petty traders, they will even tell you that they don’t have a bank account,” he said (NAN)