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CBN says attract N1.9 trln cash from public during exchange of old banknotes for new ones

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By Samuel Bankole

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)on Sunday said it has mopped up N1.9 trillion worth of naira notes outside the banking system since the inception of its new naira policy.

The amount was returned to the bank vaults by customers wanting to exchange their about-to-be-phased-out old naira note for the newly redesigned banknotes.

According to the Governor of the regulatory bank, Godwin Emefiele, the regulatory bank is expecting around N900 billion more currency from bank customers before the end of the exercise.

Emefiele said: “Available data at the Central Bank of Nigeria has shown that in 2015, Currency in­ Circulation was only N1.4 trillion. As of October 2022, currency in circulation had risen to N3.23 trillion; out of which only N500 billion was within the Banking Industry and N2.7 trillion held permanently in people’s homes.

“Ordinarily, when CBN releases currency into circulation, it is meant to be used and after effluxion of time, it returns to the CBN thereby keeping the volume of currency in circulation under the firm control of the CBN.

“So far and since the commencement of this program, we have collected about N1.9 trillion; leaving us with about N900 billion.”

He said to achieve effective distribution of the new currency, the CBN has took a number of steps.

“We held several meetings with our Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) arid provided them with Guidance· Notes on processes they must adopt in the collection of old notes and distribution of the New Notes to all Nigerians. These includes specific directives to DMBs to load new notes into their ATMs nationwide to ensure an equitable/transparent mechanism for the distribution of the new notes to all Nigerians,” he said.

READ ALSO: CBN extends old naira swap by 17 days till Feb 17, says Emefiele

“We commenced a nationwide sensitization through the Print and electronic media to create an awareness on the redesigned notes to Nigerians including collaboration with the National Orientation agency to reach all Nigerians across multiple channels.

“We deployed 30,000 Super Agents nationwide to assist in our Cash Swap initiative in the hinterlands, rural areas, and regions underserved by banks in the Country to ensure that the weak and vulnerable ones amongst us can swap/ exchange their old notes.

“We deployed all our staff, particularly the Assistant Directors, Deputy Directors and Directors· in Abuja to proceed to all CBN branches Nationwide to join the mass mobilization campaign and monitoring programs, working with the Deposit Money Banks , agents and our Branch controllers across the 36 states of the Federation.

“This is meant to ensure compliance with all our guidelines already issued for smooth implementation of the program. Although we have received some reports of breaches by some bank branches, we have agreed with the Executive Chairmen of the EFCC and ICPC to assist us, by sending their staff to all CBN and DMB branches nationwide to join in monitoring the implementation of these guidelines. The aim is to ensure compliance with the laid down guidelines.

“We are happy that so far, the exercise has achieved a success rate of over 75 percent of the N2.7 trillion held outside the banking system. Nigerians in the rural areas, villages, the aged and vulnerable have had the opportunity to swap their old notes; leveraging the Agent Naira Swap initiative as well as the CBN Senior staff nationwide sensitization team exercise.

“Aside from those holding illicit/ stolen Naira in their homes for speculative purposes, we do aim to give all Nigerians that have Naira legitimately earned and trapped, the opportunity to deposit their legitimately trapped monies at the CBN for exchange,” the CBN governor said in a statement on Sunday.

The CBN announced an extension of its January 31, deadline for the phasing out of the old naira notes to February 10, which an additional grace period of 7-day for those who still have the old naira notes to return it to the banking vaults by February 17.

Many banks have to extend their operations to Saturday and Sunday to enable them mop up more of the old naira notes from the system ahead of the initial January 31, deadline.

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