CBN Steps up Nationwide Sensitisation on New Naira Notes
* Directs DMBs, MMOs, to swap cash in rural, underserved areas
Nume Ekeghe, Sylvester Idowu, Yinka Kolawole, David-Chyddy Eleke, James Sowole
Exactly 11 days to the deadline set by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to end the use of the old 200, 500 and 1000 denomination of the Naira notes, the apex bank has sent its officials out into the streets across the nation to aggressively sensitise the public.
On the same day, in a bid to further deepen the penetration of the redesigned naira notes to the general public, unbanked and underbanked, the CBN has directed Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Mobile Money Operators (MMOs), and super agents to swap the old notes in rural and unbanked areas, to improve circulation of the new notes.
In Warri, Delta State, the CBN took its sensitisation and awareness campaign on the redesigned new naira notes to the palace of the Olu of Warri and major markets in Warri and environs.
Team leader of the apex bank and representative of the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, Sunny Amorighoye Daibo, a Deputy Director of Finance, said the traditional institutions remained critical in the sensitisation of the public, particularly the rural dwellers on the naira redesign programme.
Speaking when the team paid a courtesy call on the Olu of Warri, before the advocacy visits to markets in Warri, Daibo said the team’s deployment to Warri was to sensitise the people about the new naira notes and ensure compliance in the disbursement of the new notes.
Oluaye of Warri kingdom, Chief Eugene Ikomi urged the central bank to review the January 31 deadline upwards noting that “up till now, so many people haven’t seen the new naira notes in Warri and environs.”
The Ogwa-Olusan of Warri kingdom and former Assistant General Manager, Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc., Chief Brown Mene urged the apex bank to activate its inspectorate unit to ensure that the commercial banks adhered to its directives.
The CBN team later stormed the popular Igbudu and Ibo markets where traders were sensitised about the redesigned naira notes and assured them of the availability of the new currency.
During the sensitisation programme at Ayegbaju Market in Osogbo, Osun State, the Branch Controller of CBN, Osogbo, Madojemu Ajuma Daphne lamented that Nigerians were hoarding bank notes, refusing to take them to banks.
Represented by Adebayo Oluyemisi Omosolape, Daphne further explained that the statistic shows that 84.71 per cent of currency in circulation are outside the vaults of commercial banks, with only 15.29 per cent in the central bank and commercial banks’ vaults.
“Second, is the worsening shortage of clean and fit banknotes with attendant negative perception of the CBN and increased risk to financial stability,” she said.
While explaining the features of the redesigned N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes, Daphne said the banknotes would enhance security, greater durability, and attractiveness.
In Anambra State, traders in Nkwo Nnewi New Spare Parts Market in Nnewi, reacted angrily to the unavailability of the new Naira notes in banks.
The traders protested to officials of CBN, who were in the market to sensitise them on the need to ensure that they pay-in all old notes to the banks on or before January 31.
Some of the traders told the visiting CBN officials that as at yesterday, they have still not been able to access the new Naira notes in banks in Anambra State.
The traders said they only buy the new notes from black market retailers, wondering how black market operators could have the notes in large quantities, when commercial banks complain that they are scarce.
The officials were also in the Building Materials Market, Nkpor, near Onitsha, Odera Market in Awka, where they sensitised the traders on the security features of the notes and the deadline for usage of the old notes.
The bank officials had on the previous day also visited Tools and Allied Material Market, Bridge Head, Onitsha.
CBN’s Director, Other Financial Institutions Department, Mrs Nkiru Asiegbu, who spoke to the traders announced that the CBN will not extend the deadline for the usage of the old notes.
However, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, the CBN, yesterday, said no fewer than 95 per cent of banks, visited by its officials, have complied with the directive to dispense only new Naira notes through their ATMs.
The bank said two commercial banks, whose ATMs dispensed old notes, had been sanctioned appropriately.
The CBN Abeokuta Branch Controller, Alhaji Wahab Oseni, disclosed the level of compliance to journalists in Sagamu during an interview after the sensitisation on the redesigned Naira notes at Awolowo Market, Sagamu.
Wahab, at the sensitisation attended by market men and women, said the CBN had supplied commercial banks with enough new notes, so that they can load their ATMs with the new notes.
The controller advised the traders and members of the public not to wait till January 31, 2023, before they rush to banks to deposit their money as the deadline fixed for the exercise has not changed.
The Abeokuta Branch of the CBN, had organised the sensitisation at Kuto and Lafenwa markets in Abeokuta, while the Sagamu event, was the third to be held in Ogun State.
In Lagos, the CBN extended its sensitisation of the redesigned Naira notes to the Muslim community.
A team of the apex bank visited the Iman and the congregation of the Lagos Central Mosque in the Balogun market area yesterday.
The Deputy Director, CBN, Mohammed-Jamiu Solaja, and Deputy Director, CBN, Seyi Badmos led a team to address a huge crowd on the need to deposit their old notes, embrace the new notes, as well as inform on the reasons the apex bank took on the initiative.
Solaja said: “Out of over N3.2 trillion, we have over N2.7 trillion that was not in the banking system. This gave us a lot of challenges which also has to do with the integrity of our Naira which is our national symbol. Also, there was the issue of dirty notes and the third one has to do with counterfeiting and it being used for criminal activities. So, we had a lot of cash in the hands of so many people which is why we needed to proffer a solution by coming up with the redesign of the Naira.
“It is an international best practice for any central bank to redesign their currency every five to eight years and the last time we redesigned was 20 years ago, which has made the issue of counterfeiting easy.”
CBN Directs DMBs, MMOs to Swap Cash in Rural Areas
In a bid to further deepen the penetration of the redesigned naira notes to the general public, unbanked and underbanked, the CBN yesterday directed Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), Money Operators, and super agents to swap the old notes in the rural areas, to improve circulation of the new notes.
The CBN in a circular signed by the Director Banking Supervision Department, Haruna B Mustafa and the Director of, Payment System Management Department, Musa Jimoh titled, “Naira Redesign Policy: CBN Launches Cash Swap Programme in Rural/Underserved Areas” released yesterday stated that it would enhance the availability of the new notes and ensure people don’t lose their money as a result of the policy.
The circular also states that the policy would effective from Monday, January 23, 2022.
It states: “In recognition of the need to maximise the channels through which underserved and rural communities can exchange their Naira, the Bank is launching a cash swap programme in partnership with Super Agents and DMBs. The programme enables citizens in rural areas or those with limited access to formal financial services to exchange old Naira notes for redesigned notes.
“The agent shall exchange a maximum of N10,000 per person. Amounts above N10,000 may be treated as cash-in deposit into wallets or bank accounts in line with the cashless policy. BVN, IN, or Voter’s card details of the customers should be captured as much as possible.
“To promote financial inclusion, this service is also available to anybody without a bank account. Agents may, on request instantly open a wallet or account, leveraging the CBN Tiered KYC Framework. This will ensure that this category of the populace is able to exchange or deposit their cash seamlessly without taking unnecessary risk or incurring undue cost.”
It further states that agents shall sensitize customers on opening wallets/ bank accounts and the various channels for conducting electronic transactions.
“Designated agents are eligible to collect the redesigned notes from MBs in line with the Revised Cash Withdrawal Limit policy. Agents are also permitted to charge cash-out fees for the cash swap transactions but prohibited from charging any further commissions to customers for this service. Agents shall render weekly returns to their designated banks regarding the cash swap transactions. MBs shall in tum render same to the CBN on a weekly basis.
“Principals (Super Agents, MMOs, DMBs) shall be held accountable for their agents’ adherence to the above guidelines. Cash Swap agents will be readily identifiable in all local governments, particularly those in rural areas. The CBN will continue to monitor implementation of the programme and provide further guidance as may be necessary,” the CBN stated.