The Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday began the disbursement of old naira notes to Deposit Money Banks as government authorities stepped up efforts to end the biting currency scarcity that has inflicted pain on millions of bank customers nationwide.
The central bank had directed DMBs to pick old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes at its offices across the country for onward disbursements to customers, following a meeting between the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and bank chief executive officers on Wednesday.
Findings by our correspondents on Thursday revealed that commercial banks got old naira notes from CBN offices across the country.
Multiple bank sources including CEOs and top executives confirmed to The PUNCH that the apex bank released old notes to banks.
“I can confirm to you that we received old notes from the CBN today, we also received a memo from the central bank to this effect,” the CEO of a commercial bank told news men on condition of anonymity.
Also, a general manager at a tier-2 bank told one of our correspondents that the lender got some old notes from the central bank on Thursday.
“The CBN has started giving us old notes. However, it will take some time for the currency to circulate,” a top official of a mid-size bank confirmed to one of our correspondents on Thursday.
However, top bank officials said it would take about two weeks for the situation to normalize, adding that bank queues might not disappear until later next week.
They also hope to pay N500,000 per customer by next week.
“The situation will not normalise immediately. The impact will begin to be felt on Friday. Overall, things should normalise between one and two weeks,” a top bank executive told news men because he was not authorised to speak on the matter.
Bank workers union also said the situation might not normalize immediately.
Also, the National President, Association of Senior Staff of Banks, Insurance and Financial Institutions, Mr Olusoji Oluwole, said, “Until recently, the volume of the old currency released to banks has been minimal. This coupled with panic withdrawal by customers, and the restriction of daily withdrawal limits by the CBN has caused continued rationing. However, with the announcement yesterday by the CBN to pump more cash into the system, we hope the pressure will ease by next week if the CBN keeps to this promise.”
News media research, however, revealed that just a few banks started making payments on Thursday. It was discovered that numerous bank branches received the CBN payments very slowly. As a result, they were unable to start the disbursement.
Yet according to reports, the CBN has decided to send a team of officials to check on bank compliance.
According to reports, the apex bank officers would keep an eye on banks in Lagos, Abuja, and other locations to ensure the correct distribution of the old notes obtained from the CBN.
Top officials of the bank were said to have been directed to ensure the speedy recirculation of the old naira notes, hence the monitoring exercise.