New notes: Osun traders beg CBN to extend Jan. 31 deadline

By John Dike

Market women in Osun State have expressed doubt about the workability of the January 31, 2023 deadline set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for the return of all old notes to the commercial banks.

The market women lamented the scarcity of the new naira notes, noting that the deadline set by the apex bank cannot be sacrosanct when most commercial banks are still dispensing the old N200, N500 and N1000 notes, less than two weeks to January 31.

 

Speaking at the weekend, the women pleaded with the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, to extend the January 31 deadline set for the depositing old Naira notes to the banks

 

The CBN had announced January 31, 2023, as the deadline for issuance and circulation of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations of the country’s currency following the introduction of new banknotes

 

Speaking at a Sensitisation of stakeholders on Currency Redesign organised by CBN, held at Atakumosa market in Ilesa, Osun state, some market men and women lamented the scarcity of the new naira notes with a plea that the Apex bank should extend the date for the deadline.

 

They said non availability of new notes might make it practically impossible to meet up with the deadline set by the CBN.

 

The market women led by Osun Iyaloja General, Alhaja Awawu Asindemade and her counterpart from Atakunmosa West Local Government, Mrs Annah Awe, explained that the commercial banks in the state have not made the new notes available to customers as expected.

 

In his contribution, a trader at Atakumosa market, Mr Isaiah Ojo said he has only come in contact with one piece of the new N1,000 note, adding that most banks and galleries with Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in his area do not issue the new notes to customers.

 

Ojo said: “I only saw the new note –N1,000 like twice when a customer brought it to my shop. But all attempts to get it from banks were not successful. At least, I visit banks weekly, but they still give out old notes.”

 

Also speaking, Mrs Awe Christiana, lamented that banks are not paying customers with the new notes, as they kept on complaining not having it in their vaults, which is contrary to the message the CBN has been preaching to Nigerians .

 

She bagged the authority of the CBN to extend the deadline in the interest of the market women especially those in rural communities .

 

She promised that the message of the CBN on meeting the deadline will be communicated to all the women, who will in turn pass the message to others.

 

Reacting, the CBN Director of Research, Dr Adebiyi Micheal Adebayo, urged Nigerians not to wait till January 31, to turn in old notes for new re-designed currency. He insists that the deadline for old notes to cease being legal tender is sacrosanct.

 

He urged market traders, business operators and Nigerians to embrace various cashless channel outlets to return old currency notes in their possession, and make use of the same cashless transaction channels as preference for cash transactions.

 

“You all observed this sensitisation exercise by the CBN has been ongoing. It’s a two leg exercise. “One of them is to tell you to return your old notes in your custody for new re-designed currency between now and January 31. At the expiration of the deadline, your old notes are useless.

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