Monday, March 27, 2023
HomeNationalEmefiele: Banks blame CBN for scarcity of recoloured naira notes

Emefiele: Banks blame CBN for scarcity of recoloured naira notes

Commercial Banks in Nigeria have countered the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) over claims that they have enough new naira banknotes in their kitty but hoarding them.

The banks countered the CBN when their officials appeared before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the scarcity of the new notes and the January 31 deadline by the apex bank.

Hadiza Ambursa, an official of Access Bank, who represented the bank’s managing director, said it only got 10 per cent of the money it deposited with the CBN.

“We are not getting the money as quickly as we want them. We only get 10 per cent of the money deposited. We are paying and collecting money. We are also loading our ATM,” said the Access Bank official.

Jimoh Garuba, Sterling Bank’s representative, said it received allocation weekly from CBN but had insufficient funds to meet its customers’ demand.

“As we speak, our automated teller machine (ATM) is dispensing what we received, which fluctuates most time,” Mr Garuba stated.

He explained that his bank received a minimum of N150 million from the CBN weekly to be shared among its branches in Abuja. In Kaduna, Mr Garuba revealed that the bank received N150 million weekly, shared among its branches across the 36 states.

“We received N100 million weekly, and we can only dispense through ATM and not through the counter. If we are to go through the counter to dispense the money, the allocation will go in less than 10 minutes,” Sterling Bank staff said.

He said the percentage of money received from the CBN varies weekly, adding that it receives 80 per cent of what it deposited in Abuja and less than 10 per cent in Kano. The bank official also mentioned that the reason the new banknotes are not in circulation was a result of the cashless policy of the CBN.

Arerepade Akagwe, representing UBA, said the bank had taken 70 per cent of the old money it deposited with the CBN. She said the bank collected new banknotes from CBN every day.

Other banks, GTB, Ecobank, Lotus Bank and Fidelity, said they received 60 per cent of the old naira notes deposited. Lotus Bank, for instance, said the new banknotes it received from the CBN were insufficient. According to the bank, CBN gave it an average of N40 million weekly.

However, some lawmakers queried the cashless policy’s workability, raising concerns about their constituents living in remote areas.

“We need to know the actual facts regarding claims by commercial banks that CBN has not released new notes and the counterclaim by the CBN that it has released same,” said the chairman of the committee, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa.

He berated the apex bank for giving a deadline on the old notes, saying it is worrisome that when the country wanted to hold elections, it considered changing the N200, N500 and N1000 notes.

Mr Ado-Doguwa said the CBN should have contacted the parliament when it wanted to change the legal tender because the house leadership was unhappy about it.

Changing banknotes is not peculiar to Nigeria, but the lawmaker said “when the CBN wants to bring something sinister, we will blow the whistle.”

Mr Ado-Doguwa added, “We are in a democratic government, and no one can be greater than the institution of democracy.”



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