The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday allayed the fear of residents of Abeokuta, Ogun state capital over the January 31st deadline for the validity of the old naira notes.
The residents, during a sensitization programme organized by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) at the popular Lafenwa Market in Abeokuta North local government on the new currency, expressed fear that a category of people, especially the aged and illitrate who do not have bank account but save their money at home, will be deprived of changing their old money to the new.
But, Abeokuta Branch Controller of the CBN, Wahab Lanre Oseni while responding to questions from the market women and men noted that commercial banks will be available to open free accounts for the concerned persons which will require no document but only their names and addresses.
The Branch Controller stressed that the apex bank had supplied sufficient cash to all commercial banks across the country for circulation of the new currency, and advised the residents to without delay visit their various banks to deposit the old notes before the deadline.
He debunked speculation that the CBN will consider extending the date of the deadline for the authenticity of the old naira note, saying that CBN is not considering extending the date.
Oseni equally reiterated the CBN’s threat to sanction any banks who still release the old currencies, stressing that their was a directive to all commercial banks to begin loading the newly redesigned Naira notes into their Autoumated Teller Machines (ATM).
His words “The governor of Central Bank of Nigeria and his team have supplied more cash of the newly redesigned Naira notes to branches of CBN and from yesterday, sufficient cash is now available in all the commercial banks because that they will be penalized wherever they use old notes. Any bank that is found still bringing it out will be penalized”.
“One of the reasons why the naira was redesigned was the poor handling of the notes and it costs the CBN and the federal government huge amount of money to mint new notes cost. For example, the amount it costs to print N 1000 is higher than that amount, the same thing with other currency and that will not be a good thing for an economy.”
He also hinted that poor handling of the money by Nigerians and high cost of mint were parts of reasons the CBN and the federal government considered before redesigning the currencies.
He said “part of the reason why we spend a lot on that is poor handling of the cash itself by the public. That is why we won’t stop sensitisation until Nigerians imbibe a better way of handling money so the two major reasons are those faking the notes and poor handling and as well as higher cost causing CBN to change the notes.
“Even when people imbibe the usage of less cash, we are now advising the public to see the opportunity of e-channels of payment. We have told the people to always save whatever the money they are collecting in the bank”.
“We have also made them understand that no bank will charge anything on any amount they save as on January 31st it is from January one that there will be charges,”he added.