The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has directed commercial banks to commence the payment of the newly redesigned naira notes to customers over the counter.
The apex bank said the new directive was aimed at reducing the long queues of bank customers around Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) across the country waiting to collect the new naira notes which have been very scarce.
This was confirmed in a statement issued by the CBN’s Director, of Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi, who said that this is part of the moves to ameliorate the plight of Nigerians who are finding it hard to get the new notes.
Recommended reading: No scarcity of new notes
Over-the-counter payment subject to an N20,000 limit
- The statement from Nwasinobi partly reads, “In line with this resolve, the Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, has directed deposit money banks (DMBs) to commence the payment of the redesigned Naira notes over the counter, subject to a maximum daily payout limit of N20,000.’’
The CBN admitted the difficulties Nigerians have faced in trying to get money from ATMs and expressed its commitment to making the process seamless.
It also vowed to prosecute racketeers of the new naira notes, saying it is working with relevant agencies to make that happen.
- The apex bank in the statement added, “We have equally noticed the queues at Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) across the country and an upward trend in the cases of people stocking and aggregating the newly introduced banknotes they serially obtain from ATMs for reasons best known to them. Also worrisome are the reported cases of unregistered persons and non-bank officials swapping banknotes for members of the public, purportedly on behalf of the CBN.
- “We wish to state unequivocally that, contrary to the practice of these unpatriotic persons, it is unlawful to sell the Naira, hurl (spray), or stamp on the currency under any circumstance whatsoever.
- “For the avoidance of doubt, Section 21(3) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 (As amended) stipulates that ‘spraying of, dancing or matching on the Naira or any note issued by the Bank during social occasions or otherwise howsoever shall constitute abuse and defacing of the Naira or such note and shall be punishable under the law by fines or imprisonment or both.
- “Similarly, Section 21(4) states that ‘It shall also be an offence punishable under Sub-section (1) of this section for any person to hawk, sell or otherwise trade in the Naira notes, coins or any other note issued by the Bank.’”
For the record
The recent directive is an addition to several policy reversals that the CBN has made since it announced the naira redesign and the cash withdrawal limit policies.
Following the unveiling and the commencement of the circulation of the redesigned naira notes on December 15, 2022, the apex bank ordered deposit money banks (DMBs) to only dispense the new notes through the ATMs and stop issuing them over the counter.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, had at an interactive session with the House of Representatives a few days ago, said that banks will continue to accept old naira notes even after the stipulated February 10 deadline for swapping with the newly redesigned naira notes.
The CBN had earlier in December 21, 2022, reviewed its policy on cash withdrawal limits, increasing weekly withdrawals for individuals and corporate organizations to N500, 000 and N5 million, respectively as against the earlier N100,000 and N500,000 respectively.