The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has affirmed that the redesigned Naira notes and withdrawal policies were not made as a trap for any politician or political parties. This was in response to the accusation made towards the body by APC presidential candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Wednesday, January 25th.
Mr. Tinubu had on the said day claimed that the new Naira notes policy was a scheme meant to crumble his presidential aspiration. He said so Abeokuta, Ogun State, during his campaign rally there.
However, CBN Finance director Benjamin Fakunle explained that the January 31-deadline for the use of the old notes will not be stretched, and that the policy is in no way made to ruin the 2023 general elections.
Rather, he said that the policy of the new Naira notes for N200, N500 and N1,000 divisions was meant to control the amount of money going around daily and also help to rectify the increasing kidnap-for-ransom cases in Nigeria.
Mr. Fakunle spoke during CBN’s sensitisation event and old notes swap in Ilawe-Ekiti, Ekiti South West local government area of Ekiti state.
Fakunle stated that the cashless policy of the apex bank would enhance the economy of the country greatly, and he advised the public to gladly exchange their old notes for the new ones.
He said, “Let me put it on record that we are not targeting anybody. The last time that Nigeria redesigned notes was more than nine years ago and this is something that we normally do in a period of between five and seven years; so, nobody is being targeted.
“You will see that by the time these new notes are in circulation and we go cashless, you will find out that the incidents of kidnapping and other crimes will come to an end because there will be no monies to pay for ransom. Beyond that, we would be sure that the amount of money that is in circulation is within the vault of the CBN.
“The policy is not target at anybody. We are just doing our work the way it is, within the mandate of the law and within the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
Regarding claims of hoarding and scarcity of the new notes in banks in the state, Mr. Benjamin Fakunle explained that banks have been instructed not to issue old notes from their cash machines, saying officials of the apex bank were monitoring to punish defiant banks.
“There is no bank as at today in the whole of Ekiti State that is dispensing old currency notes. I have been monitoring, I have gone round most of the banks and there is no bank that is dispensing old notes.
”We have given banks the instruction that they should not pay old currency notes from their ATMs. Any bank that does that now, once we have evidence, we will penalise the bank. We have mandated all banks and we have given all banks enough redesigned notes to put into their ATMs. That is the current situation and we are not looking at any extension of the deadline slated for January 31.
“Tuesday next week is the last day for the old notes. Part of the efforts to be sure that date is sacrosanct is why we are here in Ilawe-Ekiti. We are even going to the hinterlands where people are unbanked and we are facing the masses.
“This policy is for the masses, we want the masses to get the redesigned notes as and when they require. Everybody that is literate is supposed to be able to do transfer for any services rendered to him or her. In actual sense of it, our actual target is to go cashless in Nigeria and that is our mandate and we will make sure that is done,” he said.