By Laleye Dipo in Minna
The Central Bank of Nigeria CBN took the campaign for the new naira notes to traders in Minna, Niger state on Tuesday where it assured that more of the new notes were now ready for use by Nigerians.
The apex bank however warned traders to be wary of unscrupulous Nigerians who could counterfeit the notes and put them in circulation.
At the Abdulkhadir Kure Ultra modern Market in Minna the Bank also admonished traders dealing with people in the rural areas to deemphasize cash transactions.
CBN branch Controller in Minna Mr Ademola Mohammed Saheed told the traders that the new notes were of very high quality before explaining the various security features embedded in the currency to the traders.
According to Mr Saheed the currency redesign is to encourage the cashless policy of the government and deemphasize the consistent use of heavy cash transactions.
“We are not going back to the old ways of swimming in cash, we are trying to move away from heavy cash transactions. We are encouraging everyone to explore other channels of paying and transacting business. Cash cannot be eradicated but we are trying to deemphasize the use of cash.”
He maintained that the January 31st deadline for the withdrawal of old banknotes remains sacrosanct except decided otherwise by the CBN Governor or the federal government.
He assured the traders who complained about the scarcity that
“For six weeks now, we have not been giving the banks the old currency. The old currency still in circulation is there because of the quantum which is so much. We have been giving banks new currency to dispense and we have been calling them to come and collect the new banknotes as we have them in the treasury. “
The Women leader of the traders told the CBN officials that traders in the rural areas have been rejecting the new notes because they claimed they are fake.
She also said that there is no way they could transfer money to traders in the rural areas because most of them did not have telephones.
Responding the CBN branch Manager warned that rejecting the new notes by anyone anywhere is an offence punishable under the law.
Handbills were distributed to the market men and women at the forum.