Banks are divided over re-issuance of the old naira notes following the ruling of the Supreme Court last week extending the usage of old 200, 500 and 1000 naira notes as legal tenders till December 31st 2023.
Banks in reaction to the apex court’s directive noted that they can’t commence re-issuance of the old notes until they are directed to do so by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Some bank officials who spoke with Vanguard on the development said they would comply with the Supreme Court’s ruling once CBN gives the directive.
One of the officials working with Access Bank who spoke on condition of anonymity said the banks would issue the old naira notes when the apex bank gives the directive and not the Supreme Court.
He said, “Banks in Nigeria are heavily regulated, and we only listen to what the CBN says. Despite the ruling, we still need to hear from our regulator.”
Speaking on whether CBN will obey the Supreme Court’s judgement, he said the CBN reports to the President and that the President has decided on the issue.
He noted, “We all know what the President has said on the matter. The CBN takes its orders from the Presidency. I am sure any action by CBN would be a directive from the President.”
Another bank official, who works from Keystone Bank said, “We can’t do anything contrary to CBN. They will direct what next and probably from Monday we shall get more updates from our management when they meet on Monday.”
Another bank official who spoke on condition of anonymity said the old notes have not been made available to the bank.
He said, “We don’t have the old notes and we are not answerable to the Supreme Court. The CBN must send a circular before we can implement any directive.”
Another banker noted that the old notes are no longer in their possession, adding that if the CBN makes it available to banks, they will issue it to customers.