By Nume Ekeghe
In a bid to increase the circulation of low denomination of naira notes in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), at the weekend, continued its direct disbursement of the currencies through merchants, shopping malls and others in Lagos State.
The Director, Currency Operations Department, CBN, Mrs. Priscilla Eleje, disclosed CBN’s direct intervention on lower denomination banknotes at a public sensitisation and enlightenment campaign in Tejuosho market, Lagos.
Eleje explained that the campaign was an initiative aimed at increasing the circulation of lower denominations through market association leaderships, merchants, shopping malls and supermarkets.
The lower denomination notes being distributed included N200, N100, N50, N20, N10 and N5.
Eleje said: “One of the key objectives of the CBN as enshrined in the CBN Act 2007, Section 1, is the issuance and management of legal tender currency in Nigeria. In recent time, the CBN has observed the inadequate circulation of the lower denomination banknotes and the difficulties encountered by economic agents such as the marketers, merchants, shopping malls, supermarkets, etc, despite huge volumes of the banknotes injected into circulation on annual basis.
“The Bank recognises the important role markets play in economic growth, hence the need ensure accessibility to lower denominations to carry out legitimate economic transactions.
“It is in recognition of this that the management of the Bank approved the direct disbursement of N200, N100, N50, N20, N10 and N5 denominations to market associations, merchants, shopping malls, stores, supermarkets, toll gates etc, in exchange for higher bills,” she said.
She added: “The framework for disbursement of these denominations stipulates that it would be made through the respective deposit money banks of the beneficiaries.
“The beneficiaries must ensure that their accounts are funded before any withdrawal could be made on their behalf. The banks are expected to incorporate the demands of their merchants and market associations in their request to CBN when making normal withdrawal or deposit.
“However, the banknotes are to be delivered to the association at no extra cost. Therefore, market associations are not expected to add any cost to their members.
“In order to guard against possible abuse or diversion of these banknotes, the Bank has developed a monitoring framework to ensure the judicious utilisation of the funds disbursed.
“The exercise consists of on the spot checks to the premises of the beneficiaries after receipt of disbursement as well as mystery shopper approach to shops, markets and toll-gates. Any beneficiary found to violate the procedure would be delisted.”
She said the disbursement which commenced in Abuja, had been extended to Lagos, Kano, Enugu, Onitsha, Ibadan, Yola, Gombe, Katsina, Jos, Port-Harcourt, Minna and Umuahia.