Ten days to the January 31 deadline set by the Central Bank of Nigeria for the old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes to cease being legal tender, Saturday PUNCH has discovered that the apex bank has reduced the amount it makes available to Deposit Money Banks from N4bn weekly to N700m.
It was gathered that before the introduction of the redesigned notes, each bank was allowed to load N4bn in its Automated Teller Machines across the country, but with the introduction of the new notes, the apex bank was now giving each of the banks N700m of the redesigned notes to distribute to branches nationwide.
This explains why the new notes have not circulated well as customers are still getting a mixture of old and new naira notes from their banks. However, a top official of the CBN told Saturday PUNCH that the reduction was deliberate and meant to force bank customers to embrace alternative payment channels in place of cash.
A top banker told one of our correspondents on condition of anonymity on Friday, “Before the introduction of the new notes, each bank had available N4bn to disburse to customers through ATMs and across the counters on a weekly basis.