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Economy - February 3, 2023

New Naira Notes: CBN Authorises Over the Counter Payments

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has instructed deposit money banks (DMBs) to start paying out the newly redesigned naira notes to customers over the counter, with a daily limit of N20,000.

The bank governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, urged the public to be patient and promised that the CBN was working to resolve the long lines at ATMs. The federal government described the inconvenience caused by the currency swap as a temporary sacrifice for the long-term stability of the economy.

In a statement, the CBN expressed concern over the increased cases of people stockpiling the new notes from ATMs and the activities of unauthorized individuals trading the notes for the public. The CBN also warned against the abuse of the currency, such as selling it, spraying it, or stamping on it, which is a violation of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act and will result in fines, imprisonment, or both. The CBN is working with law enforcement agencies, including the Police, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, and Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit, to address the issue.

The CBN had previously directed banks to issue the new notes only through ATMs and extended the deadline for returning the old notes to February 10, 2023. The two prominent traditional rulers in Ogun State, Alake of Egbaland and Awujale of Ijebuland, expressed support for the CBN’s cashless policy.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has also issued a warning against disrespecting the naira, particularly at social events such as birthdays, weddings, and funerals. The CBN director stated that those who engage in this unpatriotic behavior risk being arrested by law enforcement agencies. The apex bank is working closely with the Nigeria Police, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) to address the issue.

Previously, the CBN directed commercial banks to dispense new banknotes via ATMs instead of over the counter. Additionally, the deadline for the return of old naira notes as part of the currency redesign program was extended by 10 days, from January 31, 2023 to February 10, 2023.

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