Business operators in Edo, Delta and Bayelsa have expressed happiness over CBN’s compliance with Supreme Court’s judgment that the old N500 and N1,000 notes remain legal
tender till Dec. 31.
The Supreme Court had on March 3 in its judgment, extended the legal tender status of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 notes until Dec. 31.
Thereafter, the apex bank gave directive at a Bankers’ Committee meeting, that the old notes be used up until December, as issued in a statement by CBN’s acting Director, Corporate Communications, Isa Abdulmumin.
The business operators, who said that the Naira redesign is a good idea, however, added that the implementation made many businesses to go under, while citizens suffer the cash crunch.
As the search for cash to meet daily needs continued, governors of Edo, Delta and Bayelsa issued statements at different times appealing to business operators to accept the old notes as legal tender.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that relief came the way of the people as CBN on Monday directed commercial banks to dispense and receive the old N200, N500, N1000 bank notes, saying that the notes remain legal tender until Dec. 31.
Following this directive, NAN correspondents observed that socio-economic activities in Edo, Delta and Bayelsa have gradually started picking up.
In Edo, traders in Benin metropolis expressed happiness over CBN’s compliance with the Supreme Court’s judgment and seen accepting the old notes.
NAN checks at different banks, markets, motor parks, supermarkets and pharmacies, showed that the old N500 and N1,000 were also being accepted by traders and businessmen.
The same is observed in Delta and Bayelsa, where traders, customers, transporters and commuters are trading with the old Naira notes.
However, there are still long queues at the commercial banks in the states, as customers struggle to make withdrawals.
Mr Steve Michael, a Yenagoa-based Chartered Accountant and former banker, said “I doubt if people would readily take their funds to the bank even when the situation ends.
“Withdrawal of the old notes would have been done gradually by the banks to reduce hardship.”
In Edo, a financial expert, Dr Sule Mammud, who said that the Naira swap had disrupted economic activities, added that many petty traders were unable to operate due to lack of cash.
Mammud, a senior lecturer in the Department of Banking and Finance, Auchi Polytechnic, told NAN that the policy affected many businesses and MSMEs.
He said “the policy negatively affected small businesses, especially those who do day-to-day cash transactions.’’
Dr Okwara Udensi, the Edo/Delta Chairman, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), told NAN that CBN’s compliance to the court ruling is a welcome development.
Udensi said “It is a good thing because it is going to ease a lot of the cash problems as everyone will begin to heave a sigh of relief.
“The issue of using cash to buy cash will be a thing of the past as my workers had to spend N22,500 to collect N150,000 few weeks ago.
“This is good, let us pray that the cash will start circulating around and things will bounce back to normal by end of the month.”
Miss Miracle Edosa, a trader at Ikpoba Hill Market, told NAN that she had started accepting the old N500 and N1000 notes for business transactions.
Edosa said “traders around me are collecting and I am collecting too.
“I learnt that some people are not accepting the old money. My prayer is that everyone accepts the money as legal tender to make things easy in the country.’’
Also reacting, Mr Noma Iguisi, the Edo Chairman, National Association of Small Scale Industialists, said “the CBN has listened to us and this will impact positively in our businesses.”
Iguisi, however, suggested that the CBN should print enough of the redesigned Naira notes before phasing out the old ones.
According to him, the time frame should be such that it will be enough to print more of the redesigned Naira notes before they can recall the old notes.
Mammud said that the objective of the cashless policy was understandable but noted that the execution and timing were not right.
“From the cashless policy point of view, we should appreciate that, as much as possible, the government is trying to limit the use of cash for transactions.
“More so, now that government has redesigned the currency, the second thing is to drive the use of online banking, which is good for our economy.
“We need to put enough structures to take care of the e-transaction platforms for smooth payments and transactions.’’(NAN)
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