Thirteen days after the release of the newly redesigned N200, N500 and N1,000 notes and with 34 days before the old notes will no longer be legal tender in the country, Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in Lagos are yet to commence dispensing the new notes.
LEADERSHIP findings across parts of Lagos, showed that, most ATMs, during the holidays, are still dispensing the old notes. This is as bank customers lamented that they are yet to start seeing the new notes.
Some market women, who spoke with LEADERSHIP said, they are yet to actually see any of the denominations of the new notes.
Following the announcement by the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to redesign the higher denominations of the naira, December 15, 2022 had been announced as the release date.
The CBN had also set a deadline of January 31, 2023 for all the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes to be returned to the banks after which they will cease to be legal tender. It had also set January 9, 2023 as the comencement date for the implementation of the cashless policy.
According to the policy, individual bank customers cannot withdraw cash of more than N100,000 in a day translating to N500,000 in a week over the counter while corporates cannot withdraw more than N5 million.
Also, Point of Sale(PoS) and ATM withdrawals cannot exceed N20,000 in a day, as it stipulated that ATMs are to dispense only N200 notes effective Monday, January 9, 2023.
Although some banks have been dispensing, majority of the banks' ATMs are still dispensing old notes. A trader, Mrs Olajide, said: "I am yet to see the new notes, but I am expecting that from January we will start seeing more of the seeing the N200 notes.
"I am not sure if the January 31 deadline will be effective because we are yet to even see the new notes and January is just a few days away," she stated.
An Accountant who also spoke with LEADERSHIP, noted that, he had gone to make withdrawal in a tier 2 bank but was told that he can only get N5,000 worth of new notes in the N100,000 he was withdrawing based on instructions.
The CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele had, earlier this month, stated that, the new notes have already been dispensed to the banks who are to in turn dispense to their customers.
Bank customers are expected to pay the old notes into their accounts and can only access the new notes when they make withdrawals over the counter in banking halls or at the ATMs.
Emefilele, who has continued to reiterate that the January 31, 2023 deadline will remain, had stated that, "I can assure everyone that it will go round but let us be calm and be patient. Luckily the old currency continues to be legal tender until January 31 2023. Both the painted and unpainted will be legal tender and by January 31 unpainted ones will not be useful to you."