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Analysis: Scarcity of the new naira notes and fate of Nigerians ahead looming deadline


Analysis: Scarcity of the new naira notes and fate of Nigerians ahead looming deadline

By Odunayo Odeja

It is Crystal clear that a huge volume of the old naira notes 200,500 and 1000  is still in circulation while the new naira notes remain scarce four days before the 31st January deadline.

However, the apex bank CBN assured Nigerians that there is enough to go around and it’s a threat to start sanctioning commercial banks that are still issuing the about-to-expire notes.

Nigerians have clearly shown their frustration in getting the new notes from banking halls and Automated Teller Machines.

The frustration of Nigerians is a concern for the state governors and the Senate as they call for an extension of the deadline.

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Despite the yearnings of Nigerians for an extended period, CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele on Tuesday said there is no going back as the 31st January deadline is sacrosanct.

The Current Situation across the country.

The northeast states are more affected by this crisis according to the revelation made by some governors in the region.

The Borno state governor Bahama Zulum has said the state can not beat the January 31st deadline.

He said apart from the non-availability and circulation of the new notes, only three of the 27 local government areas of the state had functional banks due to insecurity which has rendered the majority of the communities inaccessible.

Also the Yobe state governor Mai mala Buni has called for an extension saying many people in the rural areas of the state will not make the deadline.

According to the governor, only four out of the 17 local government areas in the state have banking services.

He said the absence of banks in the rural areas was even worsened by the Boko Haram insurgency.

He, however, wondered why the banks are reluctant to reopen despite the clearing of the insurgents in the state.

This constraint is peculiar to the 6 States in the Northeast as the deadline is biting hard on the people.

Early Rejection of the naira notes before the deadline

Traders across the country have put more pressure on Nigerians as many already started rejecting the old notes from 25th January.

Traders in th Wapa forex market in Kaduna state have been refusing to accept the old Naira notes in exchange for foreign currency brought into the market.

Also at the popular Dawanau International Market, it has been announced throughout the market that traders should stop collecting the old naira notes from January 25.

This trend is also similar in some villages in Plateau State, Katsina and some other Northern and  Southern states where marketers have also issued a January 25 deadline for the collection of the old notes and trading activities have suffered in the last few days.

What is the fate of rural dwellers?

The launch of the Cash swap programme across local government areas has given rural areas hope and complementary efforts to facilitate the circulation of the new naira notes.

The scheme which targeted the communities that have no access to banks began on 23rd January for the rural dwellers to swap the old notes for new ones.

How effective will this program go and how best will it impact the circulation of the ‘scarce’ new notes?

With difficulties in getting the new naira notes due to its scarcity and refusal of traders to collect the old notes from clients/customers, Nigerians hope the apex bank will extend the deadline so as not to compound the hardship on Nigerians at this critical period.

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