Deposit Money Banks across the country yesterday began rejecting deposits of old naira notes (N1,000 and N500), after paying customers, forcing business owners, retailers to begin rejecting the old naira notes despite the Supreme Court’s extension of the validity of old notes to December 31, 2023.
A seven-member panel of justices presided over by Justice Inyang Okoro, had described as unconstitutional, President Muhammadu Buhari’s directive to the CBN on naira redesigning and withdrawal of old notes of N200, N500 and N1,000, without consultation with the states, Federal Executive Council, the National Council of States, and other stakeholders.
However, since then, there has been confusion among commercial banks and business operators following the non-issuance of a directive by the Central Bank of Nigeria as to whether or not the Supreme Court ruling should be obeyed.
As of yesterday, the CBN’s website and social media handles showed that the apex bank is yet to make an official announcement on the ruling.
Also, customers who spoke to our correspondent were livid while urging President Muhammadu Buhari and the apex bank to make official statements as they cannot transact with the old notes.
A customer of one of the new generation banks said, “I am very upset right now. I got the old notes from the counter, went out to buy something and everywhere I went, they rejected it and when I came back to the bank to deposit back the money, to my surprise, the teller rejected it saying they cannot take it back. The annoying thing here is if they could give out these old N1000 notes for us to withdraw, why can they accept deposits?
The government and the CBN need to speak out because this is very wrong. We have money, we cannot spend it. So many Nigerians are suffering; we cannot eat 3 square meals again because of this confusion”.
Nduka Chijioke, a dealer in engine oil, said, “If anyone comes here with old notes, I will not take it. I know how much I suffered to get these old notes to the CBN when its deposit portal opened. I am still yet to get an alert and that is because they (CBN) said it will take weeks before I get it and so I am not ready to go through all that stress again unless the FG or CBN okays the ruling”.
Meanwhile, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has issued Guidelines for Open Banking in Nigeria.
In a circular referenced: PSM/DIR/PUB/CIR/001/043 and dated March 7, 2023, the apex bank said that the guidelines would create greater access to customer-focused data sharing between banks and third-party firms.
Titled, “Issuance of Operational Guidelines for Open Banking in Nigeria,” the document which was signed by the Director, Payment Services Management Department, Mr. Musa Jimoh, indicated that the guidelines was in furtherance of CBN’s mandate to ensure stability in the nation’s financial system.
The circular reads in full, “The Central bank of Nigeria (CBN) in furtherance of its mandate for the stability of the financial system and pursuant to its role in deepening the financial system hereby issues the Operational Guidelines for Open Banking in Nigeria.
The adoption of Open Banking in Nigeria will foster customer permissioned data between banks and third-party firms to enable the building of customer-focused products and services. It is also aimed at enhancing efficiency, competition and access to financial services in Nigeria. All stakeholders are required to ensure strict compliance with the guidelines and all other regulations, as the CBN continues to monitor developments and issue guidance as may be appropriate.”
Open Banking is the practice of enabling secure interoperability in the banking industry by allowing third-party payment service and other financial service providers to access banking transactions and other data from banks and financial institutions.