The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has insisted that it has enough new notes to circulate throughout the country before the January 31 deadline when old notes will cease to be legal tender.
In a conversation with THISDAY over the weekend, Osita Nwanisobi, the CBN’s Director of Corporate Communication, dismissed speculation about the inadequacy of the new notes in banks.
The speculation that banks did not have enough new notes for circulation, according to Nwanisobi, was false.
Nwanisobi explained that most banking halls still have old notes because the notes are still in circulation and remain legal tender. He, therefore, assured that banks have an adequate supply of the required quota of new notes at the moment.
On claims that deposit money banks do not have access to new notes, he said: “That position is not entirely correct. We have enough supply in line with the intent for the period. The old notes remain a legal tender until January 31st so it would still be in circulation.”
Urging that the new note will be adequately circulated, he urged the general public to continue to use the old notes as they remain legal tender.
Speaking on the bank’s directives to load ATMs with the new notes, he stressed that the directive didn’t categorically ban over-the-counter transactions but was issued as a persuasion to dispense via ATMs to increase circulation.
In his word, “There is what we call moral suasion; we had a meeting with the banks and we all agreed that we can begin to put the new notes in the ATMs so that people would see and boost circulation.
“Yes, you can say it is a directive. We keep reviewing and my worry is by next week when new notes are being paid across the counter people would say they are flaunting.
“We had a meeting and we had moral suasion because people are complaining they are not seeing new notes. So, that also doesn’t mean that banks cannot pay over the counter.”
Nwanisobi noted the CBN is concerned about claims by Nigerians that they have not come in contact with new notes. In reality, he said the apex bank directed banks to load their ATMs with new notes to ensure quick and wider circulation across Nigeria.
“I never said they shouldn’t pay across the counter,” he emphasized.