Monday, 6 March 2023

S’Court order on old notes: Banks in partial compliance, begin skeletal re-circulation

Deposit Money Banks in the country have begun partial compliance with the Supreme Court order approving the use of old N1,000 
and N500 and N200 notes as legal tender for 10 months.
The Supreme Court had, last week ordered that the old naira notes should be allowed in circulation along with the new notes until December 31, 2023.
The court had said the Federal Government’s naira redesign policy contravened the 1999 Constitution.
On Monday, findings by The PUNCHrevealed that commercial banks had begun partial compliance with the order even though the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation kept mum on the matter.
Visits by our correspondents to several bank branches in Lagos, Abuja and other major cities revealed that some banks had commenced compliance with the Supreme Court order.
The CBN and the AGF office had refused to comply with previous orders by the Supreme Court on the controversial naira redesign policy.
Among others, the Supreme Court had on February 8, 2023 nullified the February 10 deadline stipulated by the CBN for the phasing out of the old naira notes.
The CBN and the AGF office however failed to comply with the directive.
While the CBN and AGF office failed to take a decision on the latest order by the Supreme Court order, some commercial banks on Monday began to pay their customers the old notes.
Several Gtbank branches in Lagos and Abuja paid customers the old N1000 and N500 notes on Monday, according to findings by The PUNCH. Also, several branches of the United Bank for Africa paid customers the old N1000 and N500 notes.
However, other commercial banks refused to paid their customers, saying they were awaiting CBN directive on the matter.
Findings by The PUNCH showed that the CBN had yet to issue a directive to banks on the matter but some banks relied on the Supreme Court ruling to go ahead with paying their customers.
“No clear official directive from CBN yet but we have to go ahead because customers are suffering. Also, the Supreme Court has ruled on it,’’ a top official of a tier-1 bank told The PUNCH on condition of anonymity.
However, officials of FCMB, Polaris Bank, Access Bank among others said they were still waiting for the CBN directive on the matter.
Meanwhile, all efforts to get the CBN to comment on the Supreme Court ruling failed as the acting Director of Corporate Communications Department, CBN, Dr Isa Abdulmumin, declined to comment.

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