Ahead of the January 31st deadline for the phasing out of old naira notes, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has dismissed speculations over the inadequacy of the new notes in the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs).
According to the apex bank, the banks have enough new notes to circulate across the nation ahead of the January 31 deadline.
The CBN also clarified that it did not ban the banks from paying customers the new notes over the counter, pointing out that the directive to the banks to dispense new notes via Automated Teller Machines (ATM) was to complement over-the-counter transactions and increase the circulation of the redesigned notes.
The apex bank had directed the banks to load their ATMs with only new notes to ensure that the currency circulates across the nation ahead of the January 31 deadline.Dismissing the speculation over the inadequacy of the new notes in banks, the Director of Corporate Communication, CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, who spoke with THISDAY at the weekend, said adequate plans have been made to heighten the circulation of the new notes.
He stated that speculations that the banks did not have enough new notes for circulation were false.He urged the general public to continue to use the old notes as they remain legal tender, adding that the new notes would be adequately circulated.He explained that the old notes are more prominent in the banking halls because they are still in circulation and remain legal tender, stressing that banks have an adequate supply of the required quota of new notes at the moment.
Responding to the directive to the banks to load ATMs with the new notes, Nwasinobi explained that the directive didn’t categorically ban over-the-counter transactions but was issued as a persuasion to dispense via ATMs to increase circulation.He said: “There is what we call moral suasion; we had a meeting with the banks and we all agreed that we can begin to put the new notes in the ATMs so that people would see and boost circulation.
“Yes, you can say it is a directive. We keep reviewing and my worry is by next week when new notes are being paid across the counter people would say they are flaunting. “We had a meeting and we had moral suasion because people are complaining they are not seeing new notes. So, that also doesn’t mean that banks cannot pay over the counter.
“The CBN is concerned about claims by Nigerians that they have not come in contact with new notes and we have directed the banks to ensure that they load their ATMs with new notes. This would ensure quick and wider circulation across Nigeria. I never said they shouldn’t pay across the counter,” he clarified.Responding to complaints that the deposit money banks do not have access to new notes, he said: “That position is not entirely correct. We have enough supply in line with the intent for the period. The old notes remain a legal tender until the January 31st so it would still be in circulation.”
Furthermore, on the deadline, he stated that January 31 remains sacrosanct, adding that there are no indications that the date would be extended.He said: “As far as I am concerned, nothing suggests that it cannot be met. For us, the 31st of January remains the date when old notes would cease to be legal tender in Nigeria.”