The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, says it has directed its branches across the country to deal directly with the public, including business owners, in an effort to resolve a lingering scarcity of lower denominations of the naira.
A spokesperson for the bank said there was sufficient supply of lower currency currently in the commercial banks.
“In addition, all our branches have been directed to indeed interface directly with members of the public, including shop owners to enhance the easy circulation of these notes,’’ said Isaac Okoroafor, the CBN’s corporate communications director.
There has been a significant shortage of lower naira denominations as the highest unit- 1,000 naira notes- appear more in circulation due to its extensive use by Automated Teller Machines, ATMs.
Mr. Okoroafor spoke at the Spring Meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington DC, the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reported.
The bank also denied charging commercial banks for the replacement of unfit notes.
Mr. Okoroafor said the CBN does not charge Deposit Money Banks, DMBs, for currency sorting services for pecuniary benefits.
“The CBN does not impose any charges on DMBs for currency Sorting Services for the purpose of pecuniary benefits, he said.
“Instead, it is the responsibility of each bank as it is the practice world over to sort its own currency notes appropriately into ‘fit and unfit’ categories before lodging them to CBN.’’
He said if any bank failed to perform the responsibility of sorting the notes, the apex bank would do the service on behalf of the bank.
This, he said, would attract a legitimate but paltry charge of N12, 000 per box of the currency.
“And one box of Naira for N1, 000 denomination is about 10 thousand pieces and the value is N10 million.
“If banks lodge money with us that they have sorted we don’t impose any charge upon that.
“What is happening now is that banks have failed to make the needed investments in currency sorting and therefore resorting to recirculating unfit notes.
“I can assure you that in due course something will be done to check this,” he said.
Mr. Okoroafor said that the apex bank only issued clean and fit notes to banks and could only replace unfit notes brought to it by the banks.
On currency hawking, he said that the apex bank was aware of the unwholesome act and other abusive treatment of the currency.
“The bank in collaboration with the law enforcement agencies have taken steps to curb these acts.
“The CBN is investigating to determine if any of its staff is involved in the criminal act and to take appropriate action on such staff,” he added. (NAN)