Banks have commenced loading of new Naira notes in their respective Automated Teller Machines(ATMs) as the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN) intensified monitoring of banks to ensure compliance with its directive on loading on new notes on ATMs.
LEADERSHIP had visited ATMs around the Mainland and Island areas of Lagos and spoken to some bank customers, many of who say they have been able to get the newly redesigned notes from the ATMs.
The CBN is still insisting that the January 31, 2023 deadline at which the old notes will cease to be legal tender still stands, saying, there are enough of the new notes available.
While the apex bank insists that it has given out new notes to the banks, some bank staff who spoke with LEADERSHIP said, they do not have enough in their branches for them to load into the ATMs.
Chuks, a trader on Lagos Island, who spoke with LEADERSHIP after receiving the new notes from a Polaris Bank ATM, noted that, he had been getting both new and old notes from ATMs.
He explained that, he had received a mixture of both old and new notes from a Wema Bank ATM and new notes from a First bank ATM. He, however, noted that, while he had been seeing the new notes with people since the early days of this year, last week was the first time he personally got it from an ATM.
On her part, Fisayo, a University of Lagos student said, she had only received the new notes from one ATM.
"Since last year when the new notes came out, I have not been getting it from the bank except for on Monday when I got it from an Access Bank ATM. I just made a withdrawal now from Access Bank ATM and I still got the old note," she stated.
Other branches surveyed include; Union Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank(GTBank), United Bank for Africa(UBA) and Zenith Bank. Some of the branches of these banks visited were, however, still paying out the old notes.
The CBN had sent out some of its top executives on a monitoring exercise to see if the banks are complying with its directive that the new notes be paid out only through the ATMs.
A deputy director in CBN, Mr. Seyi Badmus, who was in the monitoring team in Lagos, noted that, all DMBs had been adequately supplied with new notes and that the information on how much was given to each bank indicates that they should be fully able to comply with the directive.
He also added that the banks that they observed were not dispensing new notes with claims of unavailability, the monitoring committee would take it upon itself to ensure they get more newly designed notes to be able to comply.
"The data we have confirmed that all banks should have new notes to dispense and the banks that claim they don't have, our monitoring team nationwide is going around to confront them and we would ensure that banks fully comply to dispensing the new notes," he pointed out.
Also, in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi state capital, the CBN vowed to sanction any bank in state still dispensing old Naira Notes in it's Automated Teller Machines points.
The branch controller, CBN, Abakaliki branch, Mr. Daniel Ogbogu made the disclosure in Afikpo during sensitisation workshop organised by the bank for traders and other residents in the area.
He noted that the bank has been doing a spot check to ascertain if all the banks in the state are dispensing the New Naira Notes in their different point and noted that from the report gotten, 95 per cent of the ATMs are dispensing the New notes.
He noted that banks whose ATM machines are not dispensing the New Naira Notes has been given the mandate to ensure that the machines starts dispensing immediately.
"We have asked the banks to ensure that all their ATM are dispensing new note and any banks that gives out old naira will be penalized to ensure that no old notes is being dispensed from any ATM point".
"We have called the attention of the banks and we have given them mandate to ensure that we don't want to come back and see that the ATMs is not dispensing the New Naira Notes".
Mr. Ogbogu maintained that there is nothing political about the redesign of the Naira notes adding that in currency management, "you give like 5 to 8 years to redesign the currency but because of the cost involvement in currency management, the current age of this currency we are changing now is between 15 to 22 years.
He stated that there is nothing political about the redesign and change of the currency adding that anyone saying that the redesign is political is being economical with the truth.
"Anybody who is saying that the change of currency is political, the person is economical with the truth. What we are doing now is what should have been done for quite a long time now. For something that is between 5 to 8 years and we are doing it between 15 to 22 years, I don't think that changing it is sudden".
"Though it is happening during the election period but is not politically motivated. We have asked banks to come and pick up the new naira notes from the CBN. I also want the public to know that if you go to any ATM and they are dispensing old note, report them to us".
In an interview, the Chairman, Afikpo Market Amalgamated Association, Comrade Johnson Inya-Oka expressed the concern that the two banks in Afikpo Local Government Area is yet to commence the dispensing of the New Naira Notes at the ATM Points and called on the Central Bank of Nigeria to extend the deadline to accommodate traders in the rural communities.
"The New Naira Note is very ok more than the previous one. It looks likes foreign currency. For me the time giving as the last date is short because up till now, the banks are not dispensing the new naira note as far as here is concerned both in the ATM.
"If you go to the ATM, each N100,000, you may get just 5 pieces of New Naira note and that is the challenge we are having. We won't have much challenge should the CBN be fast in changing the old money".
"Our worry is that the two banks in our area is still giving us old naira both at the ATM and counter. But for me I will advise that they extend the dates because the banks in Afikpo are not dispensing the new naira note and even some aged people in the market here have not seen the new naira note. Ends.