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HomeTop NewsShaky starts for Nigeria's new naira notes circulation, banks in short supply

Shaky starts for Nigeria’s new naira notes circulation, banks in short supply

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Nigerians lined up to withdraw cash on the first day that new N200, N500 and N1,000 notes started circulating, but they were in short supply as most of the money handed out remained in old bills that are being phased out, customers said.

Nigeria’s central bank started circulating the redesigned higher-denomination notes on Thursday under a plan to curb double-digit inflation and move towards a cashless economy.

“A few (notes) came into the bank so we are going to be giving out … just a few too,” one cashier told Reuters.

The equivalent old notes cease to be legal tender on Jan. 31, and people have until then to deposit them at banks and get the corresponding sum credited to their accounts.

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Many Nigerians said that the deadline is too tight for those living in rural areas or working in informal markets.

“Out of N300,000 I withdrew, I ended up having N2,000 (in) new notes,” an agent who collects deposits and makes payments on behalf of banks told Reuters on Thursday. “I was very disappointed.”

Politically, the currency plan also comes at a sensitive time, with elections for president, National Assembly seats, state governors, and local authorities due in February and March.

Some politicians, who typically use hard cash for campaign handouts, have denounced it as draconian.

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