2023 GOVERNORSHIP AND
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CBN to sanction banks over new naira notes scarcity
As public anger over the scarcity of new naira notes persists, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Thursday stormed various banks’ Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) to ascertain their level of compliance with dispensing the redesigned naira notes.
This was even as the CBN said it has waived conditions for Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) across the country to pick up the new notes to ensure that every Nigerian gets the new currency.
However, the shock of the CBN staff, old and dirty notes were simultaneously coming out of the ATMs of most banks visited in the sting operation.
Only a few ATM booths had enough of the new naira notes, a development the apex bank said was totally unacceptable.
Speaking after the visit, a CBN Director and Managing Director of NIRSAL Micro-Finance Bank, Abdullahi Kure, said the monitoring of banks would continue, insisting that those found culpable of hoarding and diverting the new notes will be appropriately sanctioned.
He said: “We’re taking stock to know those getting new notes and what they are disbursing or why they’re not disbursing. We’re monitoring to know whether the banks are hoarding, diverting or not even picking the new money.
“Appropriate penalties will be meted out where infractions are determined”, he said.
On the possibility of extending the deadline, Kure said: “At this point, I can’t say yes or no”.
He added that there has been massive deployment of CBN Directors across the country to deepen sensitisation on new naira notes and cash restriction.
He further revealed that the apex bank was consulting with religious leaders and traditional rulers to secure their buy-in and ultimately make the initiatives a success.
The ATMs visited included GTCo, Access Bank and Keystone Bank, all within the Wuse area of Abuja.
At the Access Bank in Wuse, the Operations Manager, Ugo Chinenye, denied hoarding the new notes, stating that the bank loads the ATMs according to the volume of the new notes it receives from the apex.
At the palace of His Royal Majesty Adamu Baba Yunusa, Chairman Council of Traditional Rulers in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) appealed for a possible extension of the January 31 deadline to give room for more awareness especially at the grassroots.
He said: “Some people have not seen or touched the new naira. We need more time for sensitisation. In his remarks, the Director General, International Centre for Islamic Culture and Education, Dr Kabir Kabo Usman, said there was an urgent need to speed up sensitisation on the new notes as the deadline was less than two weeks away.
“We need to act very fast to ensure people deposit all old notes at the banks and not lose their funds. We encourage the local businesses to go the banks and deposit old notes. We’re appealing to them. It’s good to have the buy-in of the followers.
“We shall remove the skepticism in people’s minds since it’s a policy of the government that came out of great research. The message will cut across all mosques in Abuja
“We also urge CBN to ensure the new notes are available for the people to use”, he said.
Customers who spoke with journalists lamented the scarcity of new naira notes.
Rufus Peterson, a Point of Sales agent said his customers have stopped accepting the old notes from him, while the bank ATMs are still dispensing them.
“I’m in a fix. My business is suffering. My customers want new notes but my banks are disbursing old notes. This is a frustrating situation”, he lamented.
Salau Mahmoud, success Onoja and Joy Makir, are all in the same situation with Peterson, even as they called on the CBN to end the new notes scarcity horror.
Meanwhile, the CBN said it would continue its nationwide sensitisation and public enlightenment exercise on its naira redesign project, even as the January 31, 2023 deadline for the retirement of the old N200, N500 and N1,000 draws closer.
The CBN, yesterday, took the campaign on the availability and admissibility of the new naira notes to Edo markets where it urged the people to replace their old notes with the new ones.
Addressing traders during a sensitisation workshop at the popular Oba market in Benin City, the Assistant Director and Acting Branch Controller, Benin Branch of the CBN, Michael Mgbeze, urged them to accept the new notes as there is no plan to shift the January 31st deadline.
Besides, he said the apex bank has sufficiently provided the new notes to banks, assuring that from this weekend, all ATMs would no longer dispense the old notes.
The Governor, CBN, Godwin Emefiele, stated that during the bank’s sensitisation your a notes which held at Computer village, Lagos recently.
Emefiele who was represented by the bank’s Director of Legal Services Department, Kofo Salam-Alada, said, “We have been calling upon the banks to approach the Central Bank of Nigeria across the country to come and pick up the new notes; we have even waived some of the conditionality for accessing currency notes to accommodate the banks.
“In Aba, Abia State, CBN Director of Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi speaking at the Ariaria International Market, Aba, Abia State said all commercial banks have been directed not to issue the new notes across the counter, but must load and only issue the new Naira notes through the ATM so that they will circulate to everybody before the January 31, deadline.
In Birnin Kebbi, CBN took the cashless economy policy to markets in Kebbi State warning traders that January 31st,2023 deadline for end of old naira notes of N200,N500 and N1,000 was sacrosanct.
Kebbi State branch Comptroller, Mr. Mannir Dantsoho Abdullahi, Deputy Director CBN headquarters, Mr Abubakar Bello Abdullahi,a Director from CBN headquarters,Ismail A.M,National Orientation Agency (NOA)State Coordinator,Mr. Joseph Machika were in Birnin Kebbi Central Market, where they interacted with traders leader’s, market men and women.
While addressing the traders,Kebbi State Comptroller of CBN, Mr. Mannir Dantsoho Abdullahi , told the market men and women that there was no going back on the deadline stipulated for withdrawal of old notes and Nigerians should not be deceived that there would be an extensions.
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