Following the deadline by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to banks to mop up old Naira notes from circulation, Nigeria’s 33 Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) are adjusting their operational hours to meet up with the deadline.
Following the pressure on them, bank customers have appealed to CBN to extend the deadline.
Daily Sun reports that the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had announced that the bank would release re-designed naira notes from December 15, 2022.
According to the CBN Governor, this was targeted at controlling currency in circulation as well as curb counterfeit currency and ransom payments to kidnappers and terrorists.
He said that the global best practice was for Central banks to redesign, produce and circulate new legal tender every 5-8 years, adding that the Naira had not been redesigned in the last 20 years.
“The point is that as at September 2022, we had N3.32 trillion in circulation and out of that N2.73 trillion is outside the vaults of the bank. So what we want to do is mop all this N3.32 trillion back into the CBN so we can take control of money supply and begin to see how it will help rein in inflation”, he said.
Emefiele said the CBN had recieved the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to redesign the notes, adding that the apex bank has finalised arrangements for the new currency to begin circulation from December 15, 2022.
He added that the new and existing currencies shall remain legal tender and circulate together until January 31, 2023 when the old notes shall seize to be legal tender.
The apex bank also ordered bank customers to begin paying into their bank accounts the existing currency to enable them withdraw the new banknotes once circulation begins in mid-December 2022.
In separate emails sent to their customers and social media posts, banks have started altering their business hours.
The United Bank for Africa (UBA) in a mail to customers said it would begin operations on Saturdays for cash deposits.
The email said, “Following the CBN announcement on the introduction of new naira notes, we are now open on Saturdays, from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm for cash deposits only.”
Ecobank also had the same message for its customers. It said, “You can now deposit your old banknotes ahead of the January 31st, 2022 deadline. We will be open from 10am to 3pm”.
For its part, Access Bank stated in a recent message sent to customers over the weekend read, “With over 600 branches, more than 150,000 Access Bank CLOSA agents and deposit ATMs across our branches, and over 500 BETA agents that are present in over 180 major markets in Nigeria to receive cash from customers, we are just a doorstep away.
“Our customers can deposit their existing Naira notes using any of these channels closest to them with ease. Our branches will be open for longer hours during the week for your convenience, and they will also be open on Saturdays from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. to receive cash deposits,” it said.
However, the Bank Customers Association of Nigeria, BCAN, recently urged the CBN to extend the deadline for returning of the old notes.
The President of BCAN, Dr. Uju Ogubunka, in a statement, said, although it was fully in support of the CBN’s decision, the time- frame for the exercise should be scrutinized to ensure it is adequate and carried out dutifully.