Banks insist no cash after CBN’s directive

Nigerian banks are insisting there is no cash to pay to customers after their regulator, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) gave them a directive to commence over-the-counter payment.

Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN, on Thursday directed deposit money banks to commence the payment of the redesigned naira notes over-the-counter, subject to a maximum daily pay-out limit of N20,000.

The directive was contained in a statement signed by Osita Nwanisobi, director, corporate communications department of the CBN.

But most bank branches visited across Lagos on Friday morning were not paying cash over-the-counter and the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) were not dispensing.

“I have gone to all the banks in Ketu, Lagos and even entered inside the banking hall to demand for cash payment but they told me that there was no money,” one customer told BusinessDay.

Another customer who went to Zenith Bank branch around 2.00pm said the bank was paying over-the-counter but only N5,000 per customer.

The apex bank said it was collaborating with the Nigeria Police, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to address the unpatriotic practice of Nigerians in respect of naira abuse.

“The CBN has observed, with grave concern, the activities of persons who sell the newly redesigned banknotes and those who flagrantly abuse the legal tender by hurling wads of Naira notes in the air and stamping on the currency at social functions,” the statement said.

Read also: Banks deny hoarding new naira notes

According to the statement, the CBN has equally noticed the queues at ATMs across the country and an upward trend in the cases of people stocking and aggregating the newly introduced banknotes they serially obtain from ATMs for reasons best known to them. Also worrisome are the reported cases of unregistered persons and non-bank officials swapping banknotes for members of the public, purportedly on behalf of the CBN.

“We wish to state unequivocally that, contrary to the practice of these unpatriotic persons, it is unlawful to sell the Naira, hurl (spray), or stamp on the currency under any circumstance whatsoever,” it said.

Africa’s most populous country’s big bank said that the old notes would cease to be legal tender after February 10, 2023, and can no longer be used for any form of transaction afterwards.

Nwanisobi in a statement encouraged Nigerians to adopt other payment channels for their transactions, saying that Nigeria’s payment system is robust enough and ranks amongst the first in the world.


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