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Three Days To Deadline On Old Notes: In Lagos, Abuja, Kano, PH, others, traders, eateries, businesses reject old notes

Three Days To Deadline On Old Notes: In Lagos, Abuja, Kano, PH, others, traders, eateries, businesses reject old notes

With the shortage of the newly designed naira notes -N200, N500 and N1,000 – showing little signs of easing, fears are growing in financial circles about an imminent disruption to economic activities in the country as more businesses and traders have started to reject the old naira notes ahead of the January 31 deadline set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for the old banknotes to cease to become legal tender. Findings by Saturday Telegraph correspondents show that some businesses have stopped accepting the old banknotes because, according to them, apart from the fact that they are finding it difficult obtaining new ones from commercial banks, they do not want to be stuck with the old naira notes, which the CBN continues to insist will cease to be legal tender by January 31, 2023.

For instance, in a chat with our correspondent in Lagos, a business woman at a Shopping Complex in the Surulere area of the city, Mrs Chioma Chike, said she had instructed her sales girls to stop accepting old notes as she did not want to be involved in the rush to deposit them in the bank in the next few days. She said: “Most people still have the old banknotes as the new ones have not circulated very well…CONTINUE READING

The CBN says it has given adequate quantities of the new notes to the commercial banks but the banks are not dispensing enough of them. I know there will be a rush to deposit the old notes in the banks in the next few days, especially as the CBN has said that it would not extend the January 31 deadline and I don’t want to spend the whole day in the banking hall because I want to beat the deadline.” According to Mrs Chike, the PoS operators at the Shopping Complex have also stopped accepting the old naira notes so customers with such notes are left with no other option but to take them to the bank.

She, however, expressed concern that her decision to stop accepting the old notes could result in significant losses for her business in the next few days as customers with the old bank notes would go and buy goods from companies that are still accepting such notes. Findings also show that the Nigerian subsidiary of the international ice cream parlor chain, Cold Stone Creamery, recently tweeted that it would no longer be accepting the old naira notes.

Similarly, the Chicken Republic outlet at the Alagbole area in the boundary between Lagos and Ogun States started rejecting the old notes on Thursday, suggesting that a directive may have been given by the management of the outfit. Also, a national daily reported yesterday that electricity Distribution Companies (DisCos), such as the Abuja Electricity Distribution Company (AEDC) and the Kaduna Electric, have set Sunday, January 29, as their own deadline for rejecting the old naira notes. In Abuja, Saturday Telegraph’s correspondent reports that while wholesale traders, business operators dealing in large quantity of goods are freely receiving old naira notes for transactions, petty traders were rejecting the old ones. A charcoal petty trader, simply called Mama Obu in Zuba area of Federal Capital Territory, told Saturday Telegraph that, she “will manage to collect the old notes between Friday and Sunday, and draw a curtain after Sunday. She said: “My brother, I’m confused. People coming to get charcoal are bringing old notes. I haven’t seen new currency notes since introduction.

I made up my mind this morning that effective from this Sunday, I will stop collecting. The old ones in my possession I don’t know how to exchange them for new ones. My neighbours who went to banks said banks’ halls were filled up to brim. The Point of sales (POS) agents are not helping the situation. They are charging excessively if you want to pay old notes into your bank account “, she said.

Another business woman , Miss Ogala, who sells provisions and is also a PoS operator, told our correspondent that while she still accepts and pays old notes for now, she hopes to stop receiving old currency notes on Sunday. “As you can see, people buying items are doing that with old currency notes. I’m taking them for now. I also give old notes in exchange. But from Sunday I won’t take them. For my PoS, I charge extra for whoever comes to deposit old notes. The burden to return them to banks is on me.

So I charge extra for the stress I go through “, she said. Also, hair salon operators and barbers said they were wary of receiving old notes as payment for their services. A majority of them, who chose to be paid with the old notes, told our correspondent that they always add, “something on top of the normal service charge to make up for the stress of getting the money to the banks.”

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The story was not too different for big outlets. While fuel pump attendants, at AA Rano filling station, situated along Kwankwahe in Suleja local government in Niger state, accepted old notes from motorists, the station’s premises had a banner, warning customers that,” as from 28th January,2023, this filling station will NO longer accept old notes “. A fuel pump attendant of the station opened up on how old notes were being sorted out. “Like at the end of today’s sale, we call our bank account officer to come and evacuate the old notes”, he said. Citing the current non-availability of the new notes in most parts of the country, analysts at Financial Derivatives Company (FDC) had warned in a recent report that business transactions and economic activity would be negatively affected if the CBN sticks to its January 31 deadline for the implementation of the naira redesign policy.

The analysts had stated at the time that: “We have less than 25 days to the deadline for disallowing the use of the old currency notes as legal tender. Yet, the new notes are not available for transactions. If the CBN proceeds to implement the new policy at the earlier scheduled date of January 31, transactions and economic activity will be largely constrained.” Saturday Telegraph reports that despite appeals by the National Assembly and other stakeholders for the January 31 deadline to be extended, CBN Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, while addressing journalists at Tuesday’s Monetary policy Committee (MPC) meeting, insisted that deadline was sacrosanct He said: “For those hoping on extension, I will say that unfortunately, I don’t have good news for you.

For those who feel that we should shift the deadline, my apologies. The reason is just like the President had said 100 days is enough for anybody who has money or the old currency to deposit the money in the banks. “We took every measure to ensure that all the banks were open to receive old poor old currencies. 100 days we believe is more than adequate.

We called on banks, we said we are only requesting you to extend your banking hours, we asked them to keep their doors open on Saturdays. We do not see any reason to begin to talk about a shift because people could not deposit their own monies into their banks” Commenting on the scarcity of the new banknotes, a forensic accountant, Professor Richard Mayungbe, told Saturday Telegraph that he was optimistic that the CBN would flood the system with the new banknotes by January 31. He said: “The new naira notes are scarce currently. But since the CBN is insisting that it would not extend the deadline, let us hope it would flood the system with the new banknotes before Tuesday.”

Imo State

Ahead of the January 31 deadline for the use of the old Naira currency notes as a legal tender in Nigeria, many rural communities in Imo State have already started rejecting the old currency notes. Reports from different rural communities across Imo State, most of which have no bank outlets, indicate that people have already started turning down the old currency notes. In some of these communities locals have to travel to neighbouring communities to do bank transactions, as a result most of them go to bank once a week and where there is no urgency, may go to bank once in three months.

For instance, in the Atta community, in Njaba council area of Imo state, locals have since stopped accepting the old currency notes as legal tender. Speaking to our correspondent, a business woman in the community, Nkeiru Anumnu said: “Nobody is accepting old money in the community anymore. If you have it and cannot go to a bank in Orlu to deposit it, then you are stuck with it.

Yesterday (Thursday) was Afor Atta market day, but surprisingly, the market was notably scanty because of the old currency issue. People had goods to sell, but only very few customers had the new currency note to make their purchase. “Also, a woman who came to buy bitter leaf from me paid me in full, but because there were a few old currency notes mixed with the new currency she paid with, I had to reject the money and decline from selling the bitter leaf.”

Ironically, the old currency is still very much in use in Owerri, the Imo state capital. As at the time of filing this report, there have not been any notable incidents of rejection recorded in Owerri. A food merchant, Chinwendu Okereke, told our reporter that it was not logical to reject the old currency note, when the new one is still scarce.

She said: “I know the deadline for the use of the old currency is January 31, but nobody, especially people doing daily businesses are rejecting old currency at this moment. In any case, why should I reject the old currency when the new currency is nowhere to be seen? It is scarce and not readily available. Maybe after the deadline, the banks will make it available, but until then I won’t shut down my business because of the panic of currency change. However, I have heard some people say that after Friday (today) they won’t accept the old currency anymore, but that’s their choice. What I know is that banks are supposed to open Saturday, Sunday and Monday, so what is the panic all about.”

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Delta State

Traders and business owners at the popular Ogbeogonogo Market in Asaba, Delta State capital and Midwifery Market along Okpanam Road in Oshimili North local government area of the state have started to reject the old naira notes as the deadline of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) draws nearer. A provision shop owner at the Midwifery Market in Okpanam, Mama Peace, said she started to reject the old notes since Thursday this week in order not be caught in the deadline web. She said, “I have started rejecting the old notes from customers.

How can I be collecting old notes? New money, new money, but no new notes anywhere. ATM is empty of it. Banking hall is empty, POS is empty. To whom shall we go?” A foodstuffs seller at Ogbeogonogo, a.k.a Mama Emeka, said she stopped collecting it from customers because the means of depositing it has become extremely difficult. “Yes, I stopped and warned my children from selling to customers with old notes. Although there has been low patronage because of this, I feel good. I can’t collect what I will suffer to deposit in my account and not get the new notes.” Muhammed Ishaku, who sells onions at Okowa market adjacent the defunct Toll-Gate at River Niger bridge head, said he started rejecting the old notes since Thursday. He said, “CBN has warned us against the deadline. This is weekend.

Monday will be stressful to deposit any old notes. How I wish CBN did not count Saturdays and Sundays as part of the working days for the deadline, it would have extended to Friday of next week. So, if CBN is not going to extend the deadline, I will personally not collect it again.” A restaurant operator at Umuagu in Asaba, alias Lady West, said “I am done with the old naira notes since yesterday.

It is going to be difficult to deposit it on Monday. Some banks have threatened not to collect as from Monday. Today is Friday, go and see what is happening at commercial banks, there is no difference between petrol stations where customers queue from money till night to buy fuel and bank customers that want to deposit money.” In Asaba generally, many business owners, POS operators, Micro- Finance banks have started turning down the old notes for fear of the unknown. A lady P.O.S operator, who simply identified herself as Iyabo, supported by her younger sister, Kehinde, at Ibusa Junction along the popular Nnebisi Road, said the rush to deposit the old notes and the bureaucracy involved at commercial banks had become cumbersome. She said, “I suffered for hours to deposit the old naira notes at my bank. The new naira notes are not also in circulation.”

Kano State

Most traders fear that as the January 31 deadline closes in, they might lose their means of survival if they continue collecting the old notes from their buyers, something that has already grounded small businesses. Some traders who spoke to our Correspondent in Kano, said if they collect the old notes and as small enterprises and with the fact that there is no new Naira notes at the banks, where will they take their money. Those threatening to stop collecting old notes are roadside food vendors, beverages sellers, groceries sellers and others, believing that their businesses will suffer if they collect the old notes and there is no bank to deposit them. Hajiya Hadiza is one of those who said that by January 30, she would stop collecting old notes because she doesn’t know what to do with them. “Believe me, I’m stopping collecting old notes from tomorrow because honestly I’m deeply afraid that I have no place to change them,” Hadiza said. Hadiza fear might be justified because most of the banks our Correspondent visited are still dispensing old notes and the directive of the CBN to them to stop issuing the new Naira notes seems not to be working. Similarly, most of the bank ATM machines are empty without the new Naira notes with the banks telling their customers that things would be alright

Ondo State

Ahead of the January 31 deadline for the expiration of old Naira notes, residents of Ondo State especially traders have been rejecting the old notes for businesses transaction. This has led many people especially those who have no valid bank accounts stranded as they could not transact business with their customers In fact, commercial drivers were seeing rejecting the old Naira notes, saying since this Friday was the last working day before expiration of the notes, they could not guarantee of going to the banks to exchange the new notes with them. Even those operating bars rejected the old notes on the premise that it would be difficult to exchange the old notes with the new ones by next Tuesday when the old notes would seize to be legal tender. At the ATM machines of banks, there was long queue of those who wanted to collect the new notes as the banks were still dispensing old notes in the banking halls. Already, the rejection of the old Naira notes have led to apprehension among businessmen in the state. It has also paralyzed social and commercial activities in the state.

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Ogun State

In Ogun State, while some traders are still collecting the old naira notes as the legal tender for trade, others have started rejecting them over the fear that they might not meet up with the Monday, January 31 deadline. Those who are rejecting the notes hinged their reason on the shortage of the new notes. When our correspondent visited the popular Olomore market in Abeokuta North Local government area of Ogun State on Friday morning, residents were seen engaging in frenzy shopping, apparently to meet up with Monday deadline.

Some of the traders who are rejecting the old notes said, they were left with no choice than to start rejecting the old notes because they cannot go through the stress of queuing at the banks to deposit only for them to get old notes back from bank ATMs. Speaking to our correspondent, a palm oil seller, Serifat Balogun, said, “I have started rejecting the old naira notes because I cannot allow the money to expire with me.

I’m a poor trader who cannot afford to lose my meagre capital to government’s new naira notes policy. “The government should have considered petty traders like us before deciding to implement the policy”, Balogun said. Asked if she knew the old notes are still legal tender till Monday, Balogun said, “I know, but there’s nothing anybody can tell to make me change my mind unless if the government extends the expiration date”. Audu Abdullahi, a pepper seller told our correspondent that he has no problem rejecting the money for now until the Monday deadline. “I’m still collecting the old notes from my customers.

What we do here is that at the end of each day, we give our money after the day’s sales to our market leaders who help us deposit at banks the next day. “I want to appeal to the Federal government to extend the deadline to allow people, especially small traders like us, deposit our money”, Abdullahi said.

Rivers State

In Rivers State, the old naira notes are still very much in use as legal tenders across Port Harcourt and environs. They are also being used across the state’s 23 local government areas. But some residents have set their sight on January 31 deadline for the circulation of the old notes. Across Port Harcourt, most POS operators still issue the old notes to customers, who despite complaining still accept as and spend them in the markets.

But generally, some business owners have started making it clear that come January 31, they won’t accept the new notes. At the popular Sangana Market in Mile 1, most of the foodstuff sellers still use the old notes for transaction. In fact, some of them claimed that they have not laid hands on the new notes.

A vegetable seller said that she does not trust the new note, claiming that it can easily be forged. “I am even afraid to collect the new notes because I will find it difficult to know if it’s original or fake.” A POS operator in the market said that it is difficult to get the new notes from banks. She said that most customers that want to make deposit, do so with the old notes, which she cannot reject to keep the business moving. “The queues inside the banks are too long. Even if you go to the ATMs, the queues are still long. While people are talking about the new notes, we POS owners simply want to lay hands on cash be it old or new,” she said.

A sales boy at Why Yes stores that sells human wigs in both wholesale and retail just after the old First Bank building along Ikwerre Road, said that they accept both old and new notes from customers, noting that they will stop accepting the old notes on January 30. “If you reject the old notes, it means you won’t make sales. Despite the alarm on the deadline of January 31, it is like people don’t care about it or not even aware. The old notes are still accepted.

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