The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, Godwin Emefiele, says the apex bank will make it difficult for large cash withdrawals at banks as well as collaborate with law enforcement agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to track such heavy withdrawals.
This was made known by Emefiele at a press briefing after the unveiling of the new Naira notes by President Muhammadu Buhari on Wednesday in Abuja.
Emefiele said the promotion of the cashless policy initiative was the reason for the reissue of these notes, noting that the CBN will insist on the implementation of the policy nationwide as the country moves towards a cashless economy.
To complicate huge cash withdrawals: Emefiele, at the briefing, said that the amount of money that can be withdrawn from the counter would be reduced drastically, adding that bulk withdrawals would require several procedures and security checks to track use.
He said, “There is no economy imbued with the thinking that it has to be a cash economy; the world has moved from predominantly cash to a cashless economy. And I think Nigeria and the Central Bank of Nigeria are prepared to move towards a cashless economy. And that is why following the redesign and issuance of this note, we will insist that cashless will be nationwide.
“We will restrict the volume of cash that people can withdraw over the counter. If you need to draw large volumes of cash, you will fill out uncountable forms; we will take your data, whether it’s your BVN or NIN so that our law enforcement agencies like EFCC and ICPC can follow you and be sure that you are taking that money for a good purpose.”
Control of money supply: The CBN boss noted that among other reasons, the redesigned notes would ensure that the apex bank has ample control over the amount of money in circulation.
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He also pointed out that the redesign of the naira is not targeted at anyone while noting that the past attempts to redesign the naira notes were resisted.
He added, “The Central Bank of Nigeria, by law, has the mandate to reissue and redesign currency for the country, and for Nigerian people, every five to eight years. And I want to hope that after the event of today, the Central Bank of Nigeria can take it as part of its programmes to see that the currencies are designed or reissued every five to eight years.
“It is mainly because the central bank should be able to control the size of currency in circulation fully. That is the actual mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria because it has implications for monetary policy management in the country.
“There is no need for anybody to think this program is targeted at anyone. Like you heard the president, he said, this discussion to redesign and reissue currency started early in the year.”
For catchup: Recall on October 26, the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, while announcing the planned redesign of the high denomination naira notes by December 15, 2022, said that the initiative will aid security agencies in tackling illicit financial flow among other benefits.
According to the CBN, the existing notes would cease to be regarded as legal tender by January 31, 2023.
Emefiele said there was significant hoarding of naira notes by members of the public, with statistics showing that over 80% of the currency in circulation was outside the vaults of the commercial banks.