The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is set to begin an audit of banks alongside its on-site monitoring exercise to know those who are dispensing the new notes while those who are not will be appropriately sanctioned.
Speaking during a sensitisation exercise on the new naira notes by the CBN at the Asejere market in Makoko area of Lagos, the assistant Iyaloja of the market, Memud Iyabo Ajoke, noted that, traders in the market have been informed of the redesigned notes and have been told to start rejecting the old notes as soon as the deadline elapses.
The apex bank, alongside the personnel of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) also stormed the commercial banks in Gombe state yesterday, as part of measures to ensure that the new naira notes distributed are not hoarded.
Addressing journalists during the sensitisation exercise, deputy director, Banking Services department of the CBN, Josephine Ajala, noted that, all efforts have been made to dispense the new notes.
“We just realised that probably people just want to be, collecting or getting N1000 notes. The banks have been instructed that all the denominations that were given must be dispensed. We are doing a lot of audits on them. “We are following up seriously on them to trace and ensure that whatever we give them most reach the grassroots. So, all the denominations will get to the ATM and they should be in the ATM,” he pointed out.
Ajala, who noted that the old notes should not be rejected until the date of the deadline, said: “we are going to be doing a lot of sensitization, we are going to encourage people more to get away from cash.
“We are introducing a lot of cashless platforms, incentives, and more. So the central bank ideally wants to reduce the amount of cash that we use. If you go to countries like some other African countries, they don’t have a lot of cash, most of them are digital in little denominations like 200 they would go digital.
“So, we are putting in a lot of effort to get everybody on board. The new era is now cashless, though it is going to be gradual but that is the focus.”
In Gombe state, CBN director Development Finance Department, Philip Yusuf Yila who led the team during the monitoring exercise, explained that the monitoring of the commercial banks was to enforce compliance with the new CBN guidelines towards ensuring that cash released to banks are made available to the public.
He cautioned the commercial banks against hoarding the new naira notes from the public saying any attempt to do so is a sabotage which will not be condoned.
Yila revealed that the challenges observed by them during the monitoring visits was with the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) adding that the management of the concerned banks were engaged in order to improve circulation of the new notes through the ATMs.
“We are enforcing the directive of the CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele who has directed banks to commence paying customers new Naira notes Over The Counter (OTC), subject to a maximum daily payout limit of N20,000. The exercise was to also reduce queues around ATMs in the state”. He noted. The commercial banks visited include Polaris, Keystone, Zenith, Unity, Heritage, First Bank, Access, UBA and Union banks in Gombe State.