By Christian Ogbonna
The cash crunch has continued to bite harder on residents of Abakaliki, Ebonyi capital, despite the Central Bank order for citizens to accept the old currencies of N500 and N1,000 as legal tender.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that most banks in the city have started to dispense the currencies but citizens are yet to accept them.
Meanwhile, the Ebonyi government, in a statement by Mr Orlando Nweze, the State Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development, on Wednesday in Abakaliki called on the general public to resume acceptance of the currencies..
According to the statement, the general public should take notice that the CBN has announced that the old N200, N500 and N1,000 remain acceptable legal tenders till 31 December, 2023.
“All persons and institutions concerned are therefore mandated to resume acceptance of the above denominations as valid means of payment for their various transactions.
“Any person or institution, banks inclusive, found refusing to comply with this directive should be reported by calling or sending a text message to any of the following numbers: 08035731107, 08077989866, 07031284929, 08039315663, 08037455623, and 08134456854.
NAN reports that bank customers are no longer gathering in their numbers in most bank visited as most of them dispense the old Naira notes to the tune of between N10,000 and N20,000 in the state.
Mrs Chikere Nweke, a Bank customer, said she could not collect the money because people are yet to accept them as means of payment.
“Yes, banks are giving out the old notes but how many have agreed to accept them and I can’t risk such by collecting them.
“There are a lot to be done in terms of sensitisation. I have N500 now in my bag and nobody have agreed to collect it, even the tricycles operators,” Nweke said.
A Bank Official, who refused to disclose his name, said his bank has been dispensing the old notes since March 10.
He decried a drop in customers due to the old notes available in the banks and urged the people to support the CBN order and accept the currencies.
Mr Jame Omabe, a Civil servant, expressed worry over the hardship occasioned by the cashless policy and urged the federal government to step up plans to reduce the suffering.
“It has been so difficult, I have nothing on me, no new currencies or old ones. I have been to banks and even some ATM machines but all they are giving are old notes which nobody have agreed to accept,” Omabe added.
Kelechi Okoro, a trader, also urged the federal government to find a lasting solutions to the cash crunch across the nation.
“The bad networks have worsened the situation. You transfer money and it is either hooked by network or the money will get to the beneficiary two, three days after. A lot of issues need to be done in respect of the cashless policy matter,” Okoro said. (NAN)