The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday said it had made an arrangement for a cash swap in order for people to swap old naira notes, including N200, N500 and N1,000 with newly re-designed notes at Cash Swap Points which would be identified through branded banners.
Kofo Salam-Alada, the Director, Legal Services and Legal Adviser of the nation’s apex bank, who stated this while speaking with journalists in Akure, the Ondo state capital, explained that the agents that would handle the cash swap have been trained by the CBN for proper operations to avoid anyone being shortchanged and lost money to the swapping deal.
According to him, those who have no bank accounts could go to cash swap points to swap their money.
Salam-Alada, who led other officials of the bank to moved round some commercial banks in Akure and major towns in Ondo State in compelling the banks to load their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) with the new redesigned notes in order to ensure the citizenry has access to the new redesigned Naira notes before the deadline, also assured those without bank account to use e-wallet to bank their money to avoid being trapped by the deadline.
He said, “Following the directives of the CBN that only the newly redesigned new notes should be loaded into ATM, all the banks visited today, which ATMs were dispensing, actually dispensed new notes. But some of the experience we had was that some banks, majority of their ATMs were not dispensing and they claimed that they ran out of money. Upon enquiry by the CBN team, some of them were obliged or forced to load the machines again from the stock they had.
“But the critical part of this assignment now is to actually ensure that the newly introduced aspect by the CBN that is cash swap and under this arrangement, the CBN is to ensure that the underserved, under banks will also have access to new notes.
“We’re leveraging on the agents to serve these people and under the programme, the maximum of N10,000 will be swapped with old notes. There will be no charges, the agents will not have charges for cash in but for cash out.
“The existing charges will still be there. The programme also is to ensure that people who don’t even have bank accounts will be able to have access to the new notes. This is a confirmation of the promise of the Governor of CBN, the bank is a listening bank, this is a fulfilment of that promise that new notes will be taken to the farthest part of Nigeria, people must have seen what is happening.
“It is our expectation that all the agents will come over to their bank branches to pick up their funds and proceed to their locations to start serving their customers.
“The agents too are encouraged to collect funds above N10,000 as cash in and the accounts of these people be credited. So, when you don’t have account, a naira wallet will be opened for you, so that you will be credited and you will have value for your money.
“All these efforts towards making things easier for Nigerians. CBN has advised people to take their money to the bank because after 31st of January, 2023, the old notes will be worthless, you will not be able to buy anything or pay for any service with the old notes. You can’t get it swapped again, after 31st of January, 2023. The N200, N500 and N1,000 notes will be in use and the old ones will stop being the legal tendered currencies in Nigeria.
“We have the list of agents everywhere that will be in charge of swapping, we intend to have banners that will direct people to these agents.
“We’re calling them up today to educate them on what to be done. Some banks have actually educated their agents yesterday and we should let the world know that for agency banking, we have the banks-led and the non banking super agents. All these people have their spread all around. So, we intend to have a wider spread as much as possible for people to have access to the new naira notes.
“There’s no extension of deadline date, the National Assembly has promised to work with the CBN to ensure the success of this, I don’t think they want to resign from that.
“Things will be easier, we’re in the last leg of the exchange programme, people will not lose their money. CBN has enough circulation of the new naira notes, we do daily supply, we will continue to service the banks. We bend over backwards to accommodate them to be able to pick them and the naira allocated to them. We should also note that the essence of this programme is to encourage cashless, currency notes is not the only medium payments, there are other channels.”