Traders in Benin City, Edo State have commended the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for its decision to comply with the order of the Supreme Court for the old N500 and N1,000 banknotes to remain legal tender till December 31, 2023.
On March 3, the Supreme Court in a unanimous ruling by a seven-member panel of Justices ordered the Federal Government to rescind the directive of the CBN that the old N500 and N1000 should cease to remain legal tender on February 15.
Despite the order by the apex court on the matter extending the use of the old N500 and N1000 banknotes till the end of the year, the CBN, refused to issue a directive to banks to accept the banknotes until last Monday, 10 days after the Supreme Court judgment.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) which monitored compliance with the order at different banks, markets, motor parks, supermarkets and pharmacies, reported that although the old N500 and N1,000 were being accepted by traders and businessmen as legal tender, there were long queues at the commercial banks.
Speaking on the development, Dr Okwara Udensi, Edo/Delta Chairman, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, told NAN that CBN’s compliance to the court ruling was a welcome development for businessmen.
Udensi said “It is a good thing because it is going to ease a lot of the cash problems as everyone would begin to heave a sigh of relief.
“The issue of using cash to buy cash will be a thing of the past as my worker had to spend N22,500 to collect N150,000 a few weeks ago. This is good, let us pray that the cash will start circulating around and things will bounce back to normal by end of the month.”
Also reacting, Edo Chairman, National Association of Small Scale Industrialists, Noma Iguisi, expressed excitement that “the CBN has listened to us”, adding that “this will impact positively in our businesses.”
Iguisi, however, suggested that the CBN should print enough quantity of the redesigned Naira notes before phasing out the old ones.
He said the timeframe given by the CBN for the old currencies to be phased out should be such that it would be enough to print more of the redesigned Naira notes before they can recall the old notes.
“The deficit was too much. You are removing about N2 trillion old notes from circulation and replacing with about N400 billion. That was bound to result in a hug crisis,” he said.
Another trader at Ikpoba Hill Market, Miss Miracle Edosa, told NAN that she had started accepting the old N500 and N1,000 notes for business transactions, adding that “traders around me are collecting and I am collecting too.
“I learned that some people are not accepting old money. My prayer is that everyone accepts the money as legal tender to make things easy in the country. (NAN)