Nigerians are still battling with the issue of cash scarcity, three days after the (CBN) declared old N1,000, N500, and N200 notes as legal tender.
Following the instruction of the apex bank, commercial banks have begun to dispense the old currencies in their branches.
However, following the instruction of the CBN directing banks to pay out and accept old notes from their customers, banks are running out of cash.
Some commercial banks which began the disbursements of old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes to their customers on Tuesday told Punch on Wednesday that had started running out of the old currencies.
Some bank officials disclosed that their stocks of old notes are beginning to run low, while others noted that they had exhausted the old currencies in their vaults.
The CBN has kept mute on whether it will release more old notes into circulation, with specialisms that the apex bank is against the recirculation of the old currencies due to its determination to push the cashless policy initiative to a logical end.
Sources close to the CBN told Punch on Wednesday that the apex bank might not release the old notes in its custody to banks anytime soon.
The sources claimed that if the CBN release the old notes it might be tantamount to reversing the “progress” it had achieved on the cashless initiative.
A senior bank executive who spoke on condition of anonymity, said, “The CBN did not print enough new notes and does not want to return the old notes it has collected because it is still driving its cashless policy.”
Also, a top industry executive close to the CBN said the apex bank might not return the old notes to banks because it would reverse its cashless policy.
The managing director of a tier-2 bank said the CBN had yet to officially communicate to banks on whether it would release old notes to them or not.
He said, “We don’t know if the CBN has destroyed the old notes in its custody or not. As we speak, we don’t also know if it will release the old notes to banks again but the truth is banks don’t have many of these old notes in their vaults. Sadly, customers are not depositing much again.
“Many of us are expecting the CBN to disburse the old notes before Saturday. However, we are concerned they may not do so to curtail vote-buying on Saturday.”
An official of the FCMB branch in Ikeja said its stock of old notes had been exhausted by 2 pm.
He said, “We exhausted our old notes by 2 pm. Our head office has yet to give us any fresh supply because it does not have. We can only hope the CBN will supply soon.”