New Naira notes diminish in circulation, as CBN directs banks to operate weekends
Few months after the introduction of new naira notes, the currency has continued to diminish in circulation, leaving Nigerians to scramble for the old tattered notes.
Surprisingly, this is coming on the heels of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) directives to commercial banks to open for operation on Saturdays and Sundays.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on November 22, 2022 unveiled the redesigned naira notes of the N200, N500 and N1,000 denominations. The Guardian learnt that the CBN has ceased distributing new notes to commercial banks, hence its scarcity. Several Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) visited by The Guardian were not dispensing new notes, aside not paying over the counter.
A source in one of the commercial banks told The Guardian that his branch has not received new notes in the last one month, though there is improvement in the circulation of old notes.
Another source said the CBN might soon enforce the use of e-Naira, as it is embarking on training for Point of Sale (PoS) operators across the country.
The source, however, said that banks’ staff are yet to be trained on the e-Naira technicalities as many bank staff know less to nothing about it. The number of e-Naira wallets has jumped more than 12-fold to 13 million since October, and the value of transactions has climbed 63 per cent to N22b ($48 million) this year.
The Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department of the CBN, Dr. Isa AbdulMumin, disclosed that a substantial amount of money, in various denominations, had been received by the commercial banks for onward circulation to their respective customers. He said that the CBN had directed all banks to load their ATMs as well as conduct physical operations in the banking halls at the weekends.
AbdulMumin said that the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, would personally lead teams to monitor the level of compliance across the country.
He, therefore, urged Nigerians to be patient, as the current situation would ease soon with the injection of more banknotes into circulation.
Currency in circulation has slumped to about N1trn rom N3.2trn in September. The shortage of notes has left many struggling with cash payment for basic needs transaction.