Traders in Niger State have lamented the scarcity of the new naira notes, as some of them said they were also yet to be well sensitised to the new notes in circulation, especially those in the rural areas.
This was revealed to the Central Bank on Tuesday at the Kure Ultramodern market in Minna, as some of the traders spoke during a sensitisation programme on the currency redesign by the apex bank.
It was gathered that traders at the Kure Ultramodern market in Minna pleaded for an extension of the January 31 deadline for the withdrawal of the old banknotes from circulation.
The traders in the rural communities had reportedly refused to accept the new naira notes, as it was learnt that the banks and Automated Teller Machines were also still dispensing the old notes.
A trader, Yusuf Mohammed, said those in the rural communities were not aware of the new banknotes and the January 31 deadline.
He said there was a need for increased sensitisation if the deadline would not be shifted.
A market leader, identified as Rebecca James, also lamented how traders had refused to collect the new banknotes.
“I am not satisfied because the banks and the ATMs are still giving us the old banknotes.
“When we go to the bush markets, the villagers there are not collecting the new money.
“If you give them the new money alongside the old ones, they will pick the new ones out and tell you to change them.
“The traders in the villages and bush markets do not know about the new banknotes and they need to know.
“It would not be fair if they have money that they will not be able to spend or use.
“And it is from these bush markets that we buy our goods, so there are lots of challenges with these new notes.
“That is why we are asking that the deadline should be extended,” she said.
The Niger Branch Controller of the CBN, Ademola Saheed, while speaking, noted there were enough new notes with the CBN, adding that banks had started dispensing the new naira notes as well.
“For six weeks now, we have not been giving the banks the old currency.
“The old currency still in circulation is there because of the quantum which is so much.
“We have been giving banks new currency to dispense and we have been calling them to come and collect the new banknotes as we have them in the treasury.
“We are not going back to the old ways of swimming in cash. We are trying to move away from heavy cash transactions.
“We are encouraging everyone to explore other channels of paying and transacting business.
“Cash cannot be eradicated but we are trying to deemphasise the use of cash,” he said.