Following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s directive for the exchange of the old naira notes for new notes, Nigerians have begun to lament the challenges involved in the process despite the extension until February 10, 2023.

The PUNCH checks showed that people are not only experiencing challenges exchanging old naira notes for new ones only at banks, but also facing inactive banking application tools and unavailability of cash from operators. points of sale throughout the country.

According to some major bank customers who spoke to our correspondent, since the beginning of this week, major banks including GTbank, Access Bank, First Bank, UBA have been hit hard.

Nigerians have now been left stranded due to the unavailability of cash at ATMs and even over the counter, while transactions via apps have become a nightmare.

While in many cases, apps won’t open at all, in those cases where they do open, it’s impossible to perform a transfer. In other cases where the customer is able to transfer, the intended recipient does not receive credit and this becomes a problem.

Speaking to a client of Ogun State Bank, Annie (not her real name), said: “The applications of both my banks (UBA, Access banks) are currently experiencing problems. They are bringing error messages. And sometimes, the application takes too long to process.”

“My attempt to extract money from the Sales Point employees on the street is the same. Many of them have closed due to their unavailability to get cash from banks,” she added.

Another customer, Obe Comfort, who resides in the Gbagada area of ​​Lagos State, lamented how POS employees are taking advantage of the situation.

Comfort denounced the increased charges when sponsored, adding: “Now they charge up to N300 on a N1000 transaction.”

“I would have washed dishes yesterday if someone hadn’t paid my bills after eating in a canteen. I had high hopes that he would make a transfer after patronizing them not knowing that the banks are currently inactive.

“It is a serious problem that needs urgent attention,” he added.

Meanwhile, an Ibadan-based merchant, Ms. Tajudeen Abike, said she closed her shop as a result of the naira shortage and the challenges facing banking apps today.

He called on the Federal Government to find a lasting solution to the problem that is getting out of control.

The situation appears worse in other remote areas, as traders who usually flock to the popular markets in the Lagos Mile 12 area have bitterly expressed their discontent and the challenges they face in doing business.

One of the women, Ms Adefilani Sumbo, who volunteered to speak on their behalf, said that her efforts to raise cash to buy goods have been futile despite thinking that Lagos will not experience the same problem due to the great number of banks in the state. .

“We have been queuing at the ATM booth since morning despite the huge crowd, thinking that we will get money to buy our products.

“Of the four ATMs here, only two are dispensing. We have spent all the money on ourselves and we are not sure if we will be able to get the goods for which we came here, before returning to our towns”, he lamented.

Despite the Governor of the Central Bank announcing a 10-day extension to the deadline to phase out the old currency, the shortage of the new naira notes persists.

On Thursday, the main bank ordered commercial banks to start issuing the new naira notes in bank halls.

While the Central Bank continues to claim that it has released more than enough new coins to deposit money in banks, the reality on the ground points to the contrary.