By Christian Njoku
The Coalition of Civil Society Groups (CCSG), on Saturday said that the new redesigned naira notes are symbols of a new Nigeria.
The assertion was made in the popular Watt Market, Calabar, by Mrs Lilian Cosmas, Head CCSG, South-South Zone.
Cosmas who called on residents of Cross River to ensure that they visited their banks and swapped their old naira notes for the new ones before Jan. 31, said the policy would boost Nigeria’s economy.
“Nigerians in possession of old naira notes should go to the banks and swap their old notes to get the new notes which represents a new Nigeria.
“For politicians who have stocked old notes in their houses, it is time for them to go to their banks to swap the currency before the deadline of Jan. 31, after which the old notes will cease to be in use.
“In line with this, we have come to sensitise Nigerians in the South-South region, beginning with Cross River, and we will move to Akwa Ibom and continue until we get to Edo,” she said.
However, many residents in Calabar who spoke to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), frowned at the decision by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) not to extend the old naira expiration date.
Mr. Bassey Ene, a trader in cosmetics products, who spoke bitterly, said the policy was not beneficial to the masses because a lot of them would lose their money if the date is not extended.
According to him, “how do you expect the people to get the new notes when as we speak, banks are still giving out old notes, there is so much queue of people looking for the new notes that are not available.
Miss Dorothy Dodo, a Point of Sale (POS) operator, said she had so much old notes from her customers but could not change them because either the banks are hoarding the new notes or they are not available.
“I went to my bank’s Automated Teller Machines (ATM) but got only N4,000, that was all I could withdraw daily because they want the new notes to go round, what can I do with N4,000?” she said.
Similarly, NAN reports that POS operators who had the new notes were engaging in brisk businesses.
As at the time of this report, to change old notes to the new notes at a POS point, the operators were charging as much as N400 for N10,000 while transaction for old naira notes remains the same.
Some of them said they had to fix the price for exchange of new notes because getting the new notes from banks was difficult.
They added that they had to pull some strings and as businessmen, they had to add it to the cost.
Also, NAN reports that most commercial banks in Calabar were open and receiving the old naira notes at the counter. (NAN)