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January 31 Deadline Fixed By CBN For Withdrawal Of Old Naira Notes Not Feasible, Says CPPE

The Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for the Promotion of Private Enterprises, Muda Yusuf has accused the Central Bank of Nigeria of being unrealistic in its January 31st deadline of withdrawing the old naira notes.

overlay-cleverYusuf said on Monday during a programme on Arise Tv that the apex bank is acting like a ‘military dictator’ and not considerate to the plights of Nigerians.

The CBN last year announced there design of the N1000, N500 and N200 notes to replace existing notes.

The currency began circulation December 2022, but the circulation of the new notes has been limited as bank still pay customers with old notes less than three weeks to the deadline.

Yusuf said, “The CBN should be a lot more sensitive to the developments in the environment. Obviously from what we can see, we are dealing with a situation of capacity problem on the part of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“Capacity in terms of the production of the new notes and capacity in terms of the logistics. Obviously the CBN had underestimated what it takes to make the currency available.

“We are getting this kind of feedbacks from cities like Lagos, Abuja, Port-Harcourt and Kano, what are you going to say about those who are in more remote places or other states outside of these major cities?

“As I speak to you, I have not seen the new currency notes beyond what I see on the screen and yet we have practically just about three weeks to the deadline.

“This is clearly unrealistic and I wonder sometimes the CBN behaves as if they are in a different planet from where we are.

“In US, all the redesigned notes of the dollar including the ones printed in 1963 are still legal tender up till today they don’t stampede their citizens. It is as if we have not had enough trouble in this economy. I think the CBN is being unfair to citizens.

“I don’t think we deserve this. This is an economy where we have over 30 million adults unbanked. All these policies have not even made accommodation for them (unbanked).”

The bank has refused calls for the deadline to be shifted amidst hitches in the supply of the new notes.

Most retail shops receive more of the old notes while the new notes are still scanty. The new notes have not reached many rural villages in the country ahead of the deadline.

But the apex bank has instructed Deposit Money Banks to load their ATMs with the newly redesigned notes to facilitate the process.

Yusuf insisted that the deadline may be shifted due to CBN’s lack of capacity to deliver enough notes ahead of the deadline.

Last year, the bank made it clear that it would print fewer notes in other to achieve its digital banking drive.

He said, “You can’t give what you don’t have. It is very clear to everybody that the CBN doesn’t have the capacity to meet the deadline and must it be at all cost? Other economies use one or two years to transition from one note to another. What magic do they (CBN) want to perform?

“I think the thing is that they should just come to the reality that is on ground. Nigerians have suffered enough. If the CBN cannot be part of the solution, they should not be part of the problem. What magic do they want to perform? we just have three weeks.”

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