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Mint lower naira denominations, stop warning us on abuse, Nigerians tell CBN
Friday’s nationwide warning of Nigerians by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) against abusing the naira notes, has elicited hot responses from market men and women who return the warning to the apex bank, saying it’s long overdue to withdraw mutilated lower denominations and saturate circulation with new notes.
According to many Nigerians who spoke to Business Hilights Bureau chiefs across the six zones of the federation, smaller informal businesses have been suffering the challenge of excess number of old and rejectable mutilated N20, N50, N100 and even N200.
Many of them revealed that “Only high denominations including N500 and N1,000 can be said to be manageable in transacting businesses in throughout Nigeria now.
Anger of Nigerians had peaked on the matter over the weekend when they heard of warning and fine of risked six months in jail fine of N50, 000 for people who are caught abusing naira notes no matter the denomination.
Respondents recalled that the CBN had failed in currency administration pointing out that when the apex bank introduced the new N100 note, it said the note will circulate side by side with the old design for about one year before the final phase out.
But checks have shown that more than two years after, the apex bank had failed to fulfill its regulatory duties by ending use of old N100 notes so that new once can saturate the market.
Several CBN officials who were contacted by our correspondents on the matter declined comments, but a banker with one of the new generation banks, confided in our correspondent in a telephone call that “I think the CBN is facing serious cash crunch in terms of solving the old naira circulation with new ones. If you monitor the market, you will see that lower denominations are getting too dirty and tattered to even put in the pocket not to talk of using it as a means of exchange.
“In fact, many of the aged lower denomination notes cause serious stress when machining them during banking hours. It is the duty of the CBN to always be on guard to bring in new notes and take away old ones. As far as that duty is concerned the bank has failed. That is my take as a banker.
It would be recalled that an official of the Currency Operation Department of the CBN in Abuja, Mr. Samuel Shuaibu, had in Calabar, Cross River State capital, warned Nigerians against abusing naira.
He gave the warning while fagging off ‘CBN Fair’, designed to sensitise residents in the state on the appropriate use of the naira.
The fair had the theme: Promoting Financial Stability and Economic Development. Shuaibu said that the abuse of the naira was not in line with the CBN’s policy, adding that offenders would henceforth be arrested and prosecuted.
Shuaibu averred that the awareness programme was aimed at sensitising the public on the need to accord respect to naira, grow online transfer system, educate Nigerians on how to identify fake currency notes, and how to approach the CBN for complaints amongst others.
While keeping mute on why the apex bank has failed to remove old N100 note and all aged lower denomination and replace them with mints, the CBN official noted that “The naira has suffered abuse from a majority of Nigerians. Today, we find some people spraying the naira in occasions, soiling it, writing on it, squeezing it while others are hawking it. “The CBN spent a lot of money in the printing of this naira notes”.