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FCT residents decry scarcity of new naira notes, high charges by POS operators



Some residents of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) have decried the scarcity of the new naira notes and high charges by POS operators in the territory.

The residents, who spoke in separate interviews with our correspondent in Gwagwalada, Kuje and Abaji Area Councils, said that customers were paying more than 10 per cent on every withdrawal.

Our correspondent recalls that the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, had said that the apex bank sought and obtained the approval of President Muhammadu Buhari to extend the deadline on naira swap to Feb. 10.

It was also reported that the CBN had earlier given Jan. 31 as deadline for people to deposit the old naira notes in their possession in the banks.

However, some POS operators said that the sharp increase in their service charges was due to the difficulty in accessing the new notes from the commercial banks.

A building engineer in Gwagwalada, Abraham Gado, who expressed unhappiness with the development, said that the exploitation strategy adopted by POS operators was not in the interest of the masses.

Gado said that the situation called for a rethink on the side of the POS operators and the commercial banks to do something drastic to address the situation, to help cushion the hardship.

“I wish to appeal to the Federal Government, particularly the CBN and commercial banks, to adopt a stress-free strategy in withdrawing old naira notes from circulation,” he said.

Mr Emmanuel Nonso, a trader in Abaji market, said that POS operators were charging N1,000 for every N10,000 transaction.

“The new naira notes are not much in circulation and buyers still bring the old naira notes to buy our goods because they don’t have the new ones.

“The POS operators are charging us N1,000 for every N10,000 transaction, which is not good for our businesses,” he said.

A resident of Kuje Area Council, Mrs Eunice Madaki, said that the new notes were not in circulation in the area, adding that the queues at ATM points were worrisome.

Mr Silas Lagi, a POS operator at Kuje Area Council, said that the 10 per cent charges on each withdrawal was based on an agreement among POS operators in the area.

Lagi added that the new notes were not available whenever they went to withdraw money at the commercial banks in the area.

“If you know what we go through to get money from our banks to do this business, you will not complain or blame us for the increased charges.

“The problems and the struggle associated with getting money from the bank to pay customers who only want to withdraw is something else,” he stated.

Our correspondent reports that notwithstanding the 10-day extension by CBN on the collection of old naira notes, ATM points and banking halls within the area councils are still filled up, with the customers in search of the new naira notes.

Gami Tadanyigbe

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