New naira notes: CBN insists on January 31 deadline

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has maintained that there is no going back on the January 31 deadline for the transition from the old to the redesigned Naira notes.

This was made known by the Rivers State controller of the CBN, Maxwell Okafor, at a sensitisation exercise on the CBN policy held at the Mile 1 market in Port Harcourt on Thursday.

While addressing the traders at the market, Okafor explained that the newly redesigned N200, N500 and N1000 bank notes are not given over the counter in the banks, stressing that they can only be dispensed by the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).

He, therefore, urged the traders at Mile 1 market to take their monies to the bank to avoid being caught up with the deadline.

Okafor further explained that the essence of the new CBN policy is to encourage electronic banking, stop hoarding of the Naira notes and retrieve the old notes from criminals.

He later inspected some ATMs to ascertain the level of compliance with the CBN policy.

Speaking on his findings, he said “I’m not completely satisfied. Some of the ATMs are not dispensing cash. I know we have some that have dispensed the new naira, but we also are keeping tabs because we know what we are giving to the banks.”

“Because this place is a market zone, I was told that ATMs were loaded but people came and collected everything yesterday. Today we have also given them, and we have told them that we are coming back to check and monitor.”

He further claimed that the banks are receiving the new notes from CBN, adding, “even before we left the office today for this monitoring, a lot of banks were there to collect new notes. The thing is that people are waiting, even the monies returned to the bank are massive”.

“Port Harcourt is a large economy. The population is very large, and people are eager to collect the money so the moment you put them, people rush to collect the money.”

“So, part of the monitoring we do is to understand the consumption pattern of the banks so that we can also step up the supply.”

“They come every day and before the week runs out or early next week, we will give them more supply. Banks are coming in fairness to them, but the public is also withdrawing as soon as they fill the machines”.

Meanwhile, a Deputy Director Strategy Management Department of the CBN, Emejuru Eleonu, who was also present at the sensitisation said the exercise is going on simultaneously across the country.

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