March 14, 2023

Relief for Nigerians as banks dispense, accept old Naira notes

Relief for Nigerians as banks dispense, accept old Naira notes

Nigerians are finally breathing a sigh of relief over the Central Bank of Nigeria’s directives to Money Deposit Banks (DMBs) on Monday night to start dispensing and accepting the old N500 and N1000 notes.

Recall that the CBN had in a circular directed all banks to obey the Supreme Court order on the old N200, N500 and N1000 notes.

The banks had earlier commenced dispensing the old notes but refused accepting same. Some top bank officials explained that until the regulator, CBN issues a directive; their hands are tied on the issue. This made life unbearable for Nigerians as businesses refused transacting with the old notes and the new notes was also not evenly circulated.

However, the apex bank in a statement on Monday by the Ag Director of Communications, Isa AbdulMumin, said: ”In compliance with the established tradition of obedience to court orders and sustenance of the Rule of Law Principle that characterized the government of President Muhammadu Buhari, and by extension, the operations of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, as a regulator, Deposit Money Banks operating in Nigeria have been directed to comply with the Supreme Court ruling of March 3, 2023.

”Accordingly, the CBN met with the Bankers’ Committee and has directed that the old N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes remain legal tender alongside the redesigned banknotes till December 31, 2023. Consequently, all concerned are directed to conform accordingly.

The CBN’s directive came shortly after the Presidency same Monday night said President Muhammadu Buhari did not instruct or direct the Attorney General of the Federation, AGF, and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, and governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Godwin Emefiele to disobey the Supreme Court order on the naira swap deadline.

It also said the CBN had no reason not to comply with court orders on the excuse of waiting for directives from the President.

Meanwhile, following the CBN’s directive, there seems to be a significant improvement in both the dispensing and acceptance of the old bank notes by the banks, residents and traders.

Random visits by Vanguard to banks and ATMs within the metropolis showed tangible compliance to the directive.

“They are now dispensing the old notes. People have also started accepting it. However, total compliance will take a while as many still believe they might not be able to spend the old notes if they collect it in excess,” a bank customer said.

A bank official also confirmed the compliance. “We started paying the old Naira notes even before the CBN directives. The challenge we had then was that customers were not accepting it. Things improved today with assurances to customers that we will not just dispense the old notes but will also accept it whenever they lodge it.”