Uncertainty as new naira notes remain scarce after CBN’s deadline
Nigerians have continued to face challenges in their financial transactions due to inadequate circulation of the newly redesigned Naira notes.
This is as the Feb.10 deadline for the legal tender status of the old notes expired on Friday.
Stakeholders across the country are expressing frustration in accessing the new Naira notes.
While traders and other small business owners have stopped accepting the old Naira notes across the country, Nigerians who are still in possession of the old notes are left stranded.
This is in spite of a Supreme Court ruling, which urged the Federal Government to accept the old notes as legal tender until Feb. 15.
The apex court’s ruling was on a suit brought before it by the governors of Kaduna, Kogi and Zamfara states, seeking to halt the Naira redesign policy.
The Supreme Court had in a unanimous ruling granted an interim injunction restraining the Federal Government from implementing the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN’s) Feb. 10 deadline for the swapping of the old naira notes with the new ones.
A financial expert, Mr Okechukwu Unegbu, urged the government to obey the ruling.
Unegbu, who is a past President of the Chattered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), said that there was no need for Nigerians to panic.
He said that the law mandates the CBN to accept the old Naira notes in exchange for the new ones anytime they were presented.
He urged the apex bank to obey provisions of the act that set it up, adding that the Naira redesign policy and currency swap were supposed to be long term projects.
“The President should imstruct the CBN governor to hold on until when the Supreme Court will consider the matter on Feb. 15.
“The apex bank should also obey Section 20 of the CBN Act, which provides that it should continue to accept the old notes for swap, even when they cease to be legal tender,” he said.
Meanwhile, the National Council of State on Friday, urged the CBN to immediately make enough of the new Naira notes available to Nigerians or resort to circulating the old notes.
Rising from a meeting presided by President Muhammadu Buhari, the council, however, declared its support for the Naira redesign policy.
It said that there was the need for the CBN to ensure adequate provision of Naira notes in the system.
The CBN has also assured Nigerians of its capacity to meet the country’s Naira demand.
It denied a report that had gone viral on the Internet that the Naira shortage was due to challenges faced by the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC).
According to a statement by Osita Nwanisobi, CBN’s Director, Corporate Communications Department, at no time did the apex bank make such disclosure.
“What the CBN governor told the National Council of State meeting was that the NSPMC was working on printing denominations of the Naira to meet the transaction needs of Nigerians.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the CBN remains committed to performing its monetary policy function as stipulated in the CBN Act.
“We also wish to reiterate that the NSPMC has capacity and enough materials to print the required indent of the Naira,” he said.
He said that the apex bank was working assiduously to increase the circulation of new notes in the country.
Similarly, the NSPMC also expressed its capacity to produce and circulate adequate quantities of the new notes.
According to a statement by the company’s Managing Director, Ahmed Halilu, NSPMC has made adequate arrangement to continously produce redesigned banknotes as well as other denominations in line with the CBN indent for the year.
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