The Onitsha Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (ONICCIMA) says the scarcity of the new naira notes has caused a big lull in economic activities in the city.
The chamber’s President, Chief Kevin Obieri, stated this in a statement issued in Awka and made available to newsmen on Tuesday.
Obieri stated that the long man hours lost at the Automated Teller Machine points to withdraw the new notes was weighing heavily on businesses.
He added that the chamber was worried over claims by many banks not to have received supply of the new notes, “yet there were unverified reports of the new naira being traded on the streets.
“ONICCIMA commends the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for extending the date for the deposit of old notes to Feb. 10.
“It will provide ample time for citizens to return their old notes to the banks.
“However, the biggest concern of the masses is the seeming unavailability of the new notes, which is affecting business activities negatively.
“The CBN should enforce its oversight on banks that deliberately refused to disburse the new notes to the public but preferred to make quick gain.
“If the CBN does not have enough staff to monitor these activities, it should engage professional institutes like the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.
“These institutes have branches in all the states of the federation to assist in monitoring banks’ disbursement of the new notes and send back daily reports,” it said.
The chamber also advised CBN to embark on massive public sensitisation about its cashless policy and use of its recently licensed alternative payment platforms.
It urged CBN to partner with the National Orientation Agency and media to publicise the locations of the 30,000 super agents in charge of the nationwide naira swap programme.
According to the statement, this will enhance CBN’s cash swap in the hinterlands, rural areas and regions that are under-served by banks.
“It is also important that these super agents are not restricted to a particular region.
“The CBN must do all within its purview to ensure that Nigerians have access to the new notes without the current hiccups.
“Also, the recent N100,000 weekly cash withdrawal limit suspended by the CBN may have to be revisited because it is clearly better than the current new naira note, considering the difficulties faced by Nigerians. (NAN)