Ahead of the January 31 deadline set by the Central Bank of Nigeria for the phasing out of the old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes, some mega-churches, schools and retailers have set time limits for the collection of the old currencies.
This came as the lingering shortage of old naira notes forced several commercial banks to shut their Automated Teller Machines in Lagos, Abuja and other states across the country.
Deposit Money Banks have been battling a shortage of old bills amid a directive by the CBN that lenders should load only their ATMs with the news notes, forbidding over-the-counter payment of customers with the new currencies.
However, amid long queues in banks across the country, findings by The PUNCH on Thursday indicated that a number of mega-churches, schools and retailers had stipulated earlier time limits for the collection of the old notes.
This was aimed at saving the organizations from the burden and challenges associated with the exchange of the old naira notes for new ones.
A leading Pentecostal church, Deeper Christian Life Ministry, in a memo directed its church leaders to stop the collection of the old naira notes on January 29, 2023, about two days before the January 31 deadline set by the CBN.
The memo, a copy of which was obtained by The PUNCH was signed by the Deeper Christian Life Ministry Church Secretary, Pastor S.M. Afuwape.
The internal memo, titled, ‘lodgement of old naira notes’ read, “Calvary’s greetings to you in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is to inform you that the Central Bank of Nigeria deadline of 31st January 2023 on the validity of the old N200, N500 and N1000 notes in circulation is drawing near.
“The church will like to inform you to sensitize your members and the brethren to lodge all Tithes and Offerings collected in the Group on or before 29th January, 2023. Also, no old notes in the specified denominations above should be paid as offerings as from 29th January 2023. To this end, any old notes (in the prescribed denominations) brought to the headquarters which was not lodged in the bank will be paid for by the Group. Thanks for understanding and co-operation.”
Also, it further gathered that some provinces of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, had directed members to deposit old notes in their banks by January 26, about five days ahead of the CBN deadline.
This, it was said, would help to avoid a situation where members would have no choice but to use old notes as offerings and tithes in the church.
PUNCH EDITED BY GRACE NAMIJI