NIGERIA: ‘CBN Not Responsible for Scarcity of News Banknotes’

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)  Thursday refuted the news making the rounds that it is responsible for the artificial scarcity of new naira experienced in some part of the country.

The central bank in a statement explained that it “operates a clean note policy and not a mint policy,” saying that “deposit money banks (DMBs) and other customers will only be paid in clean notes made up of processed and mint notes”.

The CBN further stated that in line with this policy, it had established channels of distribution through which it disburses clean naira notes to all DMBs licensed to operate in Nigeria. However, it stressed that it always give out lower denominations of N5, N10, N20 and N50 notes to commercial banks in mint.

The statement quoted the Director, Corporate Communications, CBN, Mr. Ugochukwu Okoroafor, to have also debunked the allegation that officials of the central bank were in the practice of hoarding new currency notes only to release same to their agents, who pay them commissions after selling the mint naira notes to interested members of the public.

Furthermore, the CBN clarified that it is not responsible for the supply of cash to Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), saying that ATMs are owned and deployed by DMBs, as well as independent outfits.

“It is the responsibility of these banks and these other licensed outfits to generate and load ATM-fit banknotes into the cash dispensing machines from cash deposits. Mint notes are not ATM-fit notes and the responsibility of CBN is to issue cash to its customers by way of cash withdrawals. The CBN only distributes cash to the commercial banks which in turn supply the ATMs of their respective banks,” it added.

While disclosing that exchange windows existed at CBN branches nationwide for the swapping of old and worn out currency notes for new ones by citizens, at no extra cost, Okoroafor said the CBN did not deal with private customers as commercial banks. It is the responsibility of commercial banks to interface with their customers in terms of naira notes, he added.

“In its determination to nip the unwholesome practice in the bud, the CBN has perfected its plan of trailing such currency notes being sold to individuals, using the serial numbers," it added.

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