Abuja – The Central Bank of Nigeria will take delivery of new naira notes before the end of September for circulation, the Deputy Director, Operations, Dr Tunde Lemo, has said.
Lemo stated this on Wednesday in Abuja.
The apex bank had earlier said that new naira notes would be in circulation by June, and that the smaller denomination notes (N5, N10, N20, and N50) would be reprinted on paper.
“We are going to take delivery of the new notes from this month of August. We will take delivery of the new notes before the end of September.
“`The public will get a large quantity of the new notes to replace the old and mutilated notes, particularly the higher denomination notes in the first instance, then later the lower denominations,’’ he said.
On the scarcity of the lower denomination notes, Lemo blamed commercial banks for what he called “poor circulation’’.
“For the lower denomination; well, I think the banks are really the ones that are really not allowing the lower denomination in circulation, largely, because of the carrying value.
“Most people don’t require small denomination. But for buying things in the market, if you look at the veracity, you find out that the N50 circulate more than the smaller ones,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, Lemo has urged law enforcement agencies to arrest all illegal hawkers of new naira notes.
He also called on commercial banks to keep watchful eyes on their staff to avoid being used as conduit for illegal transfer of new notes to unauthorised hands.
Lemo said this should be done to ensure effective protection of the currency from abuse.
“We have done all we can do in the sense that we have criminalised this in the 2007 Act
“It is clear that if you hawk notes, if you abuse the currency, it is a criminal offence and it is punishable.
“We expect law enforcement agencies to do the arrest. We don’t have power to arrest. We know it is going on,’’ he said.
Lemo said commercial banks should “dispense and pay their customers with new notes’’.
He said the apex bank had carried out sensitisation campaigns to inform the public and warn them about the dangers of patronising hawkers.
“I think that is the limit the central bank can go,’’ the deputy governor said.
Naira notes are sold at Dei Dei along Kubwa Express Road, Abuja, as well as other locations across the country. (NAN)