The widespread rejection of the old N500 and N1,000 which persisted yesterday was worsened by banks’ refusal to accept deposits of the notes without registration on the Cash Return Portal, CRP of the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN.
Following the February 10th CBN deadline for the old N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, the CBN established the CRP for bank customers to register old notes intended for deposit. After registration, the depositor gets a reference code. The reference code must be submitted to the bank before the deposit is accepted by the customer.
Investigations reveal that banks cannot accept deposits of old notes from customers until the CBN suspends or eliminates CRP registration of old notes deposits.
Although banks are giving out old N500 and N1, 000 notes, they are not allowing customers to freely deposit the notes into their bank accounts.
Confirming this development, a banker said, “Customers are still not collecting the old N500 and N1,000 notes because when they ask if they can pay it back into their accounts, we tell them yes, but with the CRP reference number. Without the CRP reference number, we cannot accept deposits of the old notes.”
Meanwhile, the widespread rejection of the old notes coupled with the scarcity of N200, N500 and N1,000 notes has worsened the ongoing cash crunch.
According to a bank staff member who spoke on condition of anonymity, “The last time we were supplied with new notes was about three weeks ago, while supply of the old ones started this week.”
Cash crunch persists
Consequently, the exorbitant cash exchange charge by PoS Operators persisted with customers paying between N800 to N1,000 per N5,000 in areas where PoS agents had cash.
Lamenting the continued cash crunch, Mrs. Atinuke Olaosebikan, a PoS agent, said she has been waiting in her shop since morning for the lady who promised to supply her cash.
She lamented that though banks were paying old cash for withdrawal, the public is rejecting it.
“There is no cash to run my business for two days now. The person that promised me cash has been posting me since morning. Till now she has not brought it and I was about to lock up when you came in. I am tired of everything.
“My bank told me that they were paying old cash. I decided not to collect it since the public is not accepting it.
“The government should do something about this situation because it is clearly getting out of hand.”
On his part, Mr. Riliwan Ariyo, a bricklayer, said:”I have been to Ikotun today with the hope of withdrawing cash from the bank but no bank ATM was dispensing cash.
“I had to visit the PoS agents there. Almost all of them had new notes.
“I paid N1,000 to withdraw N5,000. Even the supermarket close to my house now dispenses cash from N500 upwards. To withdraw N500 you will pay N100.”
Mrs. Aminat Animashaun, a banana seller, narrated her experience saying:”I was at the market to buy banana today. People who took the old naira notes to the market couldn’t spend them. They were lamenting bitterly because the bank won’t accept the notes.
“I pitied them. Some had to go to some provision seller shops at Ikotun to withdraw cash at N800 per N5,000.
“People are losing money and the government is just staring at us doing nothing. I hope people don’t lose trust in the Nigerian banking system after all these troubles settle.”
Mrs. Dupe Eboreme, a trader, said she doesn’t accept old notes because traders in the market are rejecting them and the banks are not accepting them.
“I don’t accept old notes. People are not accepting it. Even traders in the market where I buy my goods are rejecting them.
“Banks paying out old notes are also rejecting, so why should I accept it?
“Customers who do not have cash can do transfers. I accept that.
“The earlier the CBN and President Buhari accede to the Supreme Court order and announce the notes to be legal tender again, that is when businesses and banks will start exchanging it for transactions.”