Business Hilights
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Finally, CBN bows to public complains, begins issuance of lower naira notes

…As traders decry non-inclusion of  N100, N200

After heated complains from mainly the informal sector of the economy over the near scarcity of lower naira denominations including N100, N200 and much lower ones, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday, commenced the disbursement of smaller naira notes to traders in order to improve the circulation of N5, N10, N20, and N50 in the economy.

Acting Director, Currency Operations Department at the apex bank, Mrs. Priscilia Eleje, revealed the development at a publicity campaign on “Disbursement of Lower Denominations of the Naira’’ in Wuse Market, Abuja yesterday.

Business Hilights had two weeks ago, carried a survey report generated by Business Hilights Intelligence Unit (BHIU), showing that operators of the nation’s informal sector are grounding to a halt due to scarcity of lower naira notes.

reported Whereas it was clear whether CBN considered the outcries of Nigerians over the scarcity or the recent move by the National Assembly querying the scarcity of lower denominations before ending the bulk-passing encounters with commercial banks on the matter, Eleje noted that the campaign was targeted at the informal sector, especially traders in markets, with the aim of increasing the circulation of the smaller units of the naira to make doing business easier.

She disclosed that the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) will be used as the pilot stage of the new campaign and if successful, will be replicated nationwide.

In her submission, the new strategy would ensure that traders desist from hiking prices of goods just to avoid looking for “change.’’

She revealed that the new naira notes will be distributed to traders within Wuse and Garki markets and others through their associations, noting that “The notes we will be disbursing are mints. This money is not meant for you to keep in your house or to go and spray at weddings or sell.

“We have our operatives everywhere and whoever is caught selling these notes will be prosecuted.

“These notes are meant to be used for daily transactions so that when a customer comes to the market, you won’t tell him or her that you don’t have change,’’ she said.

Eleje said the money was not free, adding that rather, the CBN through the various associations in the market would exchange lower denominations for larger ones.

Also, the Deputy Director, Currency Operations Department, Mr. Vincent Wuranti, lectured the traders on ways to handle and maintain the naira notes.

While urging all users to desist from squeezing the notes, writing on them or handling the notes with soiled hands, Wuranti also urged the public to inculcate the habit of using wallets in order to safeguard the naira and allow it to have a longer life span.

However, many of the traders who spoke to our Abuja Bureau chief on the development were reluctant to express happiness on the disbursement, saying they had expected more of N100 and N200 notes than the very lower naira notes as majority of their business translations revolve round the two popular notes.