• Thu. Apr 18th, 2024

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Ahead of the December 15th, 2022 date set for Nigerians to have access to the newly redesigned Naira notes, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele has said that all commercial banks operating in the country now have the new notes and ready to begin disbursement to their customers.

The CBN Governor, made this disclosure while responding to questions from the newsmen after a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari in his hometown in Daura on Thursday, explaining that about N1 trillion has so far been pulled back into the banking system since it announced the redesign of the N200, N500 and N1,000 notes in October.

According to him, we said the new notes will be issued on the 15th of December but we have to move it forward, as the president unveiled it on November 26th and yesterday the banks received the new cash and will start dispensing them.

“I can assure everyone that it will go around but let us be calm and be patient. Luckily the old currency continues to be legal tender until January 31, 2023, and both the painted and the unpainted will be legal tender, until January 31 when the unpainted ones will not be useful to you.”

On the amount that has so far been pulled back into the system, he explained further that the CBN has taken more than half a trillion and the banks have also taken around half a trillion. “What we have done is to move more people into currency processing, so that we can process as quickly as possible.”

Speaking on the apex bank’s recent cashless policy in which it placed restrictions on cash withdrawals, the CBN governor said, “It is important for me to say that the cashless policy started in 2012 but on almost three to four occasions we have had to step down the policy because we felt that there is a need for us to prepare ourselves and deepen our payment system infrastructure in Nigeria.

“Between 2012 and now which is about 10 years, we believe that a lot of electronic channels have been put in place that would aid people in conducting banking and financial transactions in Nigeria. We have heard people talk about the people in the rural areas, the truth is that even online banking is working even in Daura. On our way here, I saw a kiosk that has a super-agent in Daura because of the way we felt that there is a need to deepen payment system infrastructure. We have 1.4 million super agents that are all over the country, in all local governments and all villages and I have told my colleagues, we are going to publish the names of all the super agents.

“Having super agents which is different from the banks and different from MFBs other financial institutions, having 1.4 million of them is as good as saying we have 1.4 million banking points where people can conduct banking services and we think that Nigeria as a big country and the biggest economy in Africa, that we need to leapfrog into the cashless economy.

“We cannot continue to allow a situation where over 85 per cent of the cash that is in circulation is outside the banks. More and more countries that are embracing digitization have gone cashless and I have said at different fora that this is not targeted at anybody. It is just meant for the good and development of the Nigerian economy. “

Meanwhile, he said the CBN will not be rigid in its policy stance and will be willing to make changes where necessary. “We can only just continue to appeal to Nigerians to please see this policy the way we have presented it. We will be reviewing from time to time how this is working because we are not going to be rigid it is not to say that we will reverse, or change the timing but whether it is about tweaking some amount to be a little bit higher or lower, we will do so because we are human and we want to make life good for our people.

“We do not want to make life difficult for them, there is no need for anyone to worry, the CBN is monitoring what is happening and I can assure everyone that we are alive to our responsibilities and we will do what is right for Nigeria and Nigerians.”
By Motolani Oseni
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