Naira Redesign: CBN Goes After Commercial Banks’ Strong Rooms


BY ONYEKACHUKWU IBEZIM – Following its deadline extension for exchanging the old Naira notes to February 10, 2023, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will be going after commercial banks’ strong rooms as part of measures to checkmate their alleged hoarding of the new and redesigned notes.

The Branch Controller of CBN in Rivers State, Mr Maxwell Okafor dropped the hints in Port Harcourt, the State capital on Sunday after monitoring the cash swap in Port Harcourt and Igwurita in Ikwerre Local Government Area.

He said the apex bank is all out to monitor the banks in the State to ensure their staff are not part of the system making it difficult for Nigerians to easily access the new notes for financial transactions.

Mr Okafor said reports reaching the CBN indicate that many residents, especially POS operators, are finding it tough to access the new Naira notes, thereby making it difficult for the money to circulate in areas where banks do not exist.

He noted that POS operators were passing through difficulties to get the new notes, saying many get discouraged from going to the banks because of the stress of staying on the queue for several hours without even having access to the notes.

Expressing the hope that effective monitoring of the strong rooms will put an end to hoarding of the notes by defaulting banks, the Branch Manager said; “It took us lots of time for us to enter the bank halls to assist POS operators get the new Naira notes. If Nigerians can experience this type of thing in our presence, how much more when we are not around.

“Banks should make the process of cashing money easier for Nigerians so that they can access the new Naira notes, especially the POS operators. The POS operators takes money to many of the places where banks do not exist as they can push the money to every nooks and cranny of the state.

“As for hoarding of the new Naira notes, we have to do further exercise as to ensure that money is distributed to the people. It means we have to get to their strong rooms. We will check how they disburse what they have and what they have in the ATM.”

He assured that the apex Bank officials will visit other banks outside Port Harcourt to ensure compliance with the disbursement of the new Naira note and appealed to commercial banks to assist CBN make the process less cumbersome and hitch-free for Nigerians.

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