New notes scarcity: Anambra residents adopt cashless method


Anambra residents adopt the use of ATM cards and mobile transfer to conduct financial transactions

Lucy Osuizigbo-Okechukwu

The scarcity of the redesigned naira notes has forced residents of Awka in Anambra State to adopt the cashless method in their daily transactions.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has fixed Jan. 31 as the deadline for the use of the old naira notes.

The redesigned naira notes, comprising N200, N500 and N1,000, became legal tender on Dec. 15, 2022, after they were unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari on Nov. 23, 2022, in Abuja.

A check by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Saturday at Zik’s Avenue, UNIZIK Junction, Regina, Okpuno and Aroma areas, discovered that traders and business owners were asking their customers to pay with new notes.

It was also discovered that some of the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) in major parts of Awka, were still dispensing the old naira notes while there were long queues at a few ATMs dispensing the redesigned naira notes.

Some banks dispensing the new notes have configured their ATMs to dispense N5,000 or N10,000 per transaction.

Also, some Point of Sale (PoS) operators were still paying with old naira notes while some who had the redesigned naira notes increased their charges by 100 to 200 per cent.

As a result of these challenges faced by the people in accessing the new naira notes, the residents have tried to adjust their ways and employ the cashless way of carrying out business transactions.

“Since Friday, my customers have been using debit cards or mobile transfer to pay for products and it is even easier. My family has also resorted to mobile transfer if we need to pay for something,” an Awka resident said.

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Mrs Ego Uzoma, a civil servant, told NAN at Eke-Awka market, that she had to do a mobile transfer to pay for a commodity she bought at the sum of N500 because the owner of the store refused to collect old naira notes.

Uzoma lamented that she had to pay so much per transaction for the mobile transfers.

“If not for the too many bank charges and sometimes, network problems, the cashless transaction is actually easier. The few PoS operators who pay with the new notes charge N100 for new N1,000 notes.

“This is very frustrating because in Awka, the redesigned N1,000 notes are kind of available and when you buy stuff or pay for transportation with it, they still give you old N500 or N200 notes as balance, telling you the redesigned ones are not available.

“I scrambled to deposit the old naira notes at the bank, I cannot afford to take them back and I cannot also pay extra at the PoS to get new notes, which is why I resorted to cashless transactions,” she said.

Narrating his ordeal, Mr Eric Uzor, an Engineer, said he had to buy additional needless commodities to the tune of N1000 because he could not afford to pay for a N250 commodity using mobile transfer.

“It does not make sense to pay bank charges over N250 product. So, I had to buy other stuff to make up N1,000. The CBN needs to do something urgently.

“They should make these new naira notes available for people to use. The scarcity has been very frustrating here in Anambra.

“They should extend the expiration date or allow the old notes to phase out gradually without any deadline,” he said.

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