By Olaitan Oye-Adeitan
Had it been money could talk, perhaps the new naira notes would have voiced to the public what exactly is the true picture of its non-availability to the people who spend their precious time desiring to withdraw the new notes at the Automated Teller Machines, ATM every day.
Since its official launch on the 15th of December, 2022, by the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, some Nigerians have not seen or touched the redesigned money other than just hearing about it.
Already, some traders are rejecting the old currencies for fear of still having them in their custody by Tuesday, 31st January, the deadline given by the CBN.
A popular shopping mall in Ibadan which hitherto had notified its customers that it would stop collecting the old naira notes by Friday, 27th January 2023 had extended it till, Tuesday, 31st January.
Boldly inscribed on the entrants and wall of a business organization is an inscription also notifying its customers on the date for the rejection of the old naira notes.
Money as commonly referred to is a servant to be sent on errands.
However, it is seemingly difficult now to get this servant on an errand by those who daily lay wait on it.
Not that there is no money in individual accounts, but accessing it is the issue.
Are the banks not having enough of the new notes or are they reserving it for certain categories of people? Numerous are the questions on the lips of the common man.
Another interesting dimension is the fact that while the new naira notes are not yet in full circulation, it is easily seen in bales of mint in the hands of currency hawkers who sell the money to guests who lavishly spray money at parties. So, where and how did they get the redesigned naira notes?
Is there any other place or major financial institution that dispenses money to individuals or corporate bodies other than the banks?
For some people, this among other factors might just be one of the reasons customers find it difficult to get new notes.
It was also discovered in one of the commercial banks in Ibadan that customers in the banking hall sought the assistance of some security officers who would collect their ATM cards and take them to the machine, where many other customers had been waiting tirelessly, to cash the money.
“Such would definitely not be without a cost,” an anonymous customer said.
But, Feelers from one of the commercial banks revealed that “the insufficiency of the new notes in circulation was due to CBN’s directive to the banks that they should ensure they mopped up all the old currency notes before the deadline.
Consequently, withdrawal limits for the new notes at the ATM was pegged at 20,000 naira where it is available while only customers who wanted to deposit the old notes were those welcomed in the banking hall”.
There is however hope that the new notes would be in full circulation by next week.
The clock is ticking, the deadline approaches, government says no going back, 31st January remains sacrosanct.