CBN to go after lenders still dispensing old notes

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has warned that it will sanction any bank in Ebonyi State that continues to load and dispense old naira notes in its Automated Teller Machines (ATMs). The CBN branch controller in Abakaliki, Mr Daniel Ogbogu, issued the warning during a sensitisation workshop organised for traders and other residents in the area. He explained that the bank had been conducting spot-checks to ascertain if all banks in the state were dispensing the new naira notes, adding that reports indicated that 95% of ATMs were already dispensing the new notes.

He added that banks whose ATM machines were not dispensing the new naira notes had been instructed to ensure that the machines started dispensing immediately. Ogbogu stressed that there was nothing political about the redesign of the naira notes. In currency management, it is common to give around 5 to 8 years for the redesign of currency; however, the current currency being changed is between 15 to 22 years old due to the cost of currency management. He dismissed claims that the redesign was political, stating that anyone making such claims was being dishonest.

As part of the effort to ensure that the new naira notes are in circulation, the Central Bank of Nigeria has been injecting large sums of money into circulation. The apex bank plans to pump more cash into circulation, pushing the number of new naira notes closer to N1 trillion. Despite this effort, the CBN has discovered that some individuals have been using their cronies to open new bank accounts in order to withdraw new notes. The bank has stated that it will use the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission to investigate these individuals and determine whether they have followed the Know Your Customer (KYC) protocol. Some commercial banks have also been keeping the new notes for their priority customers, although the apex bank has increased the volume of cash it released to the banks.

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