The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has mandated commercial banks to stop putting old naira notes in their automated teller machines (ATMs).
The apex bank said it has enough of the new naira notes to meet the demand of the public. It also vowed to monitor commercial banks to ensure that they comply with the directive.
CBN Director of Currency Operations, Mr Ahmed Umar, made this known in Abuja on Monday at the training session for state directors of, the National Orientation Agency (NOA) on the redesign of currency notes policy, according to the News Agency of Nigeria.
Aim of the directive: Umar said that the CBN’s directive was to implement the January 31 deadline for the withdrawal of old naira notes in circulation.
“We want to use this training session to pass the message that the CBN has enough currency notes to go around the general public.
“We, CBN management, have mandated banks to stop putting old notes in their ATMs. They should only put the new notes.
“And there is the serialization of the policy that they can put either N500, N1000 or N200 notes whichever the denomination they have, or a combination of any of those notes; they should just put a new note in their machines.
“We are going to monitor to ensure that the banks comply and if they don’t, we have a penalty for non-compliance,” the CBN director said.
CBN currency change: According to Umar, in many countries of the world, it takes a few years to change a currency note design.
“In our case what we had was over 20 years of having the same design of naira notes. Over that period, what it did to us was to create an avenue for some people to master the art of counterfeiting the note.
“In our case, what we have is a minimum of 17 years or more for us to redesign our currency. If you notice the N1000 note that was introduced in 2005, it took 17 years for us to redesign it. N500 and N200 notes were also redesigned after 21 years and 22 years respectively.
“So, if the naira notes stay too long in the system, there is a tendency that people who counterfeit make a lot of efforts to produce the same notes. That is why there is a need to change our notes regularly,
“It is simple logic, the effort you put into counterfeit N1000 is the same effort you put into counterfeit N5. So, why would they waste their energy doing small notes; they always target the higher notes, particularly N1000, because of the intrinsic values attached to them,” he said.
In case you missed it: Earlier, the Director General of the NOA, Dr Garba Abari, said his agency partnered with the CBN to educate NOA members of staff at 774 local government areas to assist in enlightening Nigerians on the redesign of new banknotes policy.
Abari expressed hope that the training session would go a long way in addressing misconceptions and misunderstanding around the new currency notes policy.
He called on all participants to pay serious attention to the training to represent the CBN well while embarking on enlightenment programmes at the grassroots.