Nigerians are still struggling to obtain cash (old and new naira banknotes) days after the Supreme Court ordered the Central Bank of Nigeria to allow the old N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes to remain legal tender until December 31.
The CBN had issued a deadline of February 10 for the old denominations.
On Friday, Supreme Court legalised using certain denominations of old naira notes as legal tender until December 31.
A visit to some banks in Oyo state revealed that neither the old nor the new banknotes were available, not even the N20, N50 and N100 notes that were not redesigned.
A bank official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, told journalists that the bank had not started paying out the old notes because there is no directive from CBN and the apex bank has not disbursed the notes.
Findings revealed that the seeming non-compliance by President Muhammadu Buhari’s regime was due to the inability to obtain the certified true copy (CTC) of the apex court’s judgement.
According to a staff of the federal justice ministry, who did not want to be named, the regime must obtain the CTC before it can direct the CBN to comply with the ruling.
He said efforts were on to obtain the judgment from the Supreme Court.
A financial expert, Okechukwu Unegbu, commended the Supreme Court for extending the legality of the old naira notes until December.
Mr Unegbu, a past president of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), said the naira redesign policy inflicted avoidable pains on Nigerians and urged the CBN to immediately take steps to release the over N2 trillion of the old currency it mopped up.
“The apex bank said it had mopped up over N2 trillion of the old currency. They should bring out that money through the banking system so that people can get money to move ahead and do their businesses,” he said.
The CIBN ex-president urged the CBN to return to the drawing board and design a more effective and less cumbersome implementation of cashless policy and financial inclusion initiative.
An economist, Tope Fasua, urged Mr Buhari to direct the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, to immediately comply with the apex court’s decision by making the old and new naira notes available to Nigerians.
Mr Fasua also advised the CBN to ensure optimal internet capacities for the cashless policy to be effective. According to him, cashless policy and financial inclusion are gradual processes which require time for the banks to improve their capacity and infrastructure.
According to him, Nigerians will become even more comfortable with the policy when banks improve their online banking capacity.
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