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.
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.
“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.
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.
“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.”