Cashless economy: CBN to boost SMEs with saved funds from naira redesign project
Small businesses may become the major beneficiaries of the cashless economy drive especially the naira redesign project.
This is the hint coming from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which says it will dedicate most of the savings from Naira Redesign scheme and deepening of its cashless economy to boosting the SME section of the economy.
This is as the CBN has also urged traders and other persons who suffer fraud in commercial banks to lodge complaints at the apex bank, saying the money would be recovered the way many others have so far been tracked and recovered.
The CBN disclosed this in Port Harcourt last week during sensitisation rally for Naira Redesign to traders.
The CBN Branch Controller, Maxwell Okafor, led other bank workers to the Mile One Market to explain the critical importance of the redesign scheme and how the deadline will not be shifted.
The PH CBN boss who explained the huge impact the SME sector will receive said criminality will reduce, kidnapping will decline, and cost of printing and servicing the naira would crash.
Okafor said the huge sums to be saved from the exercise would play important role in funding of SMEs.
The CBN explained why the Ministry of Finance was not involved in the naira redesign, saying only the CBN had the mandate by law.
Read also: Knowledge gap hindering MSMEs access to funds –Head, Union Bank’s SMEs
Warning traders to stop banking on shifting of deadlines, the CBN boss said counterfeiting had risen, hoarding was high to the extent that 85 per cent of money in circulation was unknown to the banking system.
He said the CBN which started cashless policy since 2012 is now set to deepen it in Nigeria, adding that there is no going back.
The CBN also said henceforth, tracking of currency notes that leaves the apex bank has started with the redesigned money.
He advised the citizens to ignore rumours that the new naira is easy to wash off, saying any currency exposed to bleaching or chemicals would suffer the same fate.
The CBN said the exercise is not change of old to new naira and not restructure of the naira but mere redesign. “Even if we change only the colour or one number digit on the currency, it is redesigned.’
Meanwhile, the CBN has allayed the fears of traders and others who are scared of fraud in the banks.
Reacting to questions, the CBN officials urged victims to lodge complaints at the apex bank and be sure it would be tracked.
Making available the number of such reports in the PH branch, the official said stamp duties came when the FG drew it’s attention to need for stamp duty payment for every transaction.
The CBN also gave out the numbers to be reached if anybody had issues getting the new naira from any bank.
The CBN explained the features of the e-Wallet saying it does not attract charges for transacting with it.
The CBN pleaded with citizens to move their old notes to the banks and use ATMs to withdraw cash as well as use transfers and other instruments to spend, not huge cash any more.
The CBN also urged the banks to make the new notes available. Officials went round PH to ATMs to force banks to dispense new notes.