Officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria have increased their momentum to sensitize stakeholders in Delta state on the newly redesigned currency notes.
The officials who were in Asaba, Agbor and Warri on Thursday harped on the urgent need for residents to quickly deposit their old notes in the banks to beat the rush before January 31,2023 when the old N200, N500 and N1,000 cease to be legal tenders.
They also visited commercial banks to ensure the dispensation of new notes from the Automated Teller Machines (ATM).
Addressing traders at Oko market in Asaba largely populated by members of Arewa community, Asaba branch controller of CBN, Mr Godwin Okafor said currency management in Nigeria has faced several challenges that have continued to grow in scale and sophistication with unintended consequences for the integrity of both the CBN and the country.
Some of these challenges, he said, include a significant hoarding of banknotes by members of the public, with statistics showing that N2.72 trillion out of the N3.26 trillion currency in circulation as of June 2022 was outside the vaults of commercial banks across the country, and supposedly held by members of the public.
“This statistic shows that 84.71 percent of currency in circulation are outside the vaults of commercial banks, with only 15.29 percent in the Central Bank and Commercial banks’ vaults.”
According to him, there is also the worsening shortage of clean and fit banknotes with attendant negative perception of the CBN and increased risk to financial stability
and increasing ease by criminals and risk of counterfeiting as evidenced by
several security reports.
On the benefits of the currency redesign to the Nigerian economy, Mr Okafor said the exercise would bring the hoarded currency into the banking system, help to have much more accurate data on money supply and monetary
aggregates, as well as assist in the fight against corruption among others.
A director in the apex bank, Mrs Elizabeth Amrovhe who presented the new notes to the traders spoke on the security inbuilt which makes counterfeiting of the legal tender much more difficult, adding that it is also impossible to photostat it.
Some of the respondents commended CBN for bringing the enlightenment on the new notes closer to them in the market even as they appealed that they be made available through ATM or PoS which are still dispensing old notes.
The new N1,000, N500 and N200 banknotes were unveiled on November 23, 2022, by His President Muhammadu Buhari.