ByÂ Peter Egwuatu
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, weekend, blamed the banks for continuing to circulate dirty notes in the country to avoid the payment of surcharge against unsorted dirty notes which ought to have been returned to the apex bank before now for authentication and destruction.
The apex bank, however, advised banks to comply with the directive given to them to sort out â€œclean and dirty notes so that there will be quality of bank notes in circulation.”
Also, a retired Deputy Inspector General of Police, Mr. Adebayo Adeoye, has advised banks to use sophisticated armoured vehicles that will help protect the citizens and ward off armed robbers.
Speaking on â€œ Cash Management in Nigeria- the new road mapâ€ at the launch ofÂ Association of Cash Managers of Nigeria, ACMAN, in Lagos, Director, Currency Operations Department, CBN, Alhaji Muhammad Nda, disclosed that the apex bank is worried and concerned with the quality of banknotes in the circulation.
According to him, â€œThe naira notes in circulation are dirty and heavily soiled, due to poor public handling habits. The notes are abused in a number of ways, including but not limited to folding, tearing of edges, writing, squeezing, stapling, un-orthodox storage, non-use of wallets, and â€œsprayingâ€ at social gatherings, all of which make currency sorting difficult, costly and inefficient.â€
He emphasised that the policy of shared responsibility in the cost of currency processing which was introduced in 1997 to address the problem of dirty notes in circulation has not been achieved, while indicting banks for not complying even when a penalty fee was increased from N3,000 to N6,000 on October 13, 2008 for an unsorted deposit of a box of currency notes of 10,000 pieces.
The banks, according to him, are expected to sort their cash into ”cleanâ€ and â€œdirtyâ€. While the clean notes are to be reissued to the public by the banks, the dirty one are expected to be deposited with CBN for authentication and destruction.
Continuing he said, â€œThe sad finding by CBN is that banks avoid the payment of the surcharge by circulating dirty notes.â€
The CBN Currency Department boss commended ACMAN for its contribution towards cash management, noting, â€œFor currency distribution, the deployment of inappropriate bullion vehicles is prevalent. The importance of deployment of the appropriate armoured vehicles for cash-in-transit operations cannot be over-emphasised, especially in view of the increase in the rate of robbery attacks on specie currency movements and sophistication of criminals.â€
Nda noted that investment in cash handling services all over the world is capital-intensive and urged the members of ACMAN to look at various sources of funding to be able to meet the minimum requirements of paid-up capital for various operations of currency management systems.
Also, Mr. Marvin Akpoyibo, Commissioner of Police, Lagos State, has encouraged ACMAN members to use sophisticated armoured vehicles for the movement of cash across the country.
According to him, â€œ We embraced the use of armoured vehicles 100 per cent, as this will prevent policemen who are on escort and banksâ€™ staff from untimely death caused by armed robbers. So many banks have not complied with the directive to use armoured vehicle for cash movement, some still use conventionalÂ patrol vehicles.
The delay in the implementation is quite dangerous for the policemen as the banks take care of their own deceased staff that are involved in robbery attacks.