Swapping Old Banknotes Redeemable Only At CBN After Deadline – Emefiele
…Insists old N200, N500, N1000 no longer tenable after February 10
…Pledges no Nigerian will lose their money, seeks support
…Accuses commercial banks of breaching CBN’s guidelines
…Reiterates EFCC, other security agencies working with apex bank on new naira distribution, monitoring
…Lawmakers elated with CBN gov’s explanation, pass N1tn ways and means loan request
James Emejo Udora Orizu, Juliet Akoje in Abuja and James Sowole in Abeokuta
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, yesterday told holders of the old N200, N500, and N1000 banknotes that in line with the provision of Section 20(3) of the CBN Act, they would still have the opportunity to redeem the face value of their cash only at central bank offices nationwide after the February 10, 2023 deadline, when the currencies would have lost its legal tender status.
Also, the CBN governor assured Nigerians that nobody would lose their legitimately earned money due to the naira redesign project, saying the exercise was in the overall interest of Nigerians and the economy.
Emefiele said this during a meeting with the House of Representatives Ad-hoc Committee on the Review of the CBN’s Cashless Policy and Extension of the Timeframe of the Currency Swap programme, held in Abuja.
Emefiele who was accompanied to the meeting by all the four Deputy Governors of the CBN, before responding to the questions thrown at him by the lawmakers, apologised for his inability to appear in previous summons.
He said he was on vacation and later on a trip to Senegal with President Muhammadu Buhari.
He told the parliament that the value of old naira notes of N200, N500, and N1000 would still be redeemed even after they have ceased to be legal tender after the February 10 deadline, at the CBN.
He said the redemption was in tandem with the law, precisely section 20 (3) of CBN act, noting the essence was to mop up the old notes in circulation.
While reeling out the steps taken by the central bank to ensure the effective distribution of the new banknotes, he disclosed that about N1.9 trillion of the old banknotes had so far been collected since the commencement of the exercise.
According to him, the currency redesign policy has so far recorded about a 75 per cent success rate given the fact that many of those in the rural and underserved locations across the 36 states of the country have had the opportunity to swapping their old banknotes for the new series of the banknotes.
He noted that one of the reasons for the naira redesign was to bring in the N2.7 trillion outside the banking system which is currently being held in people’s homes.
Emefiele explained, “Besides, the general practice across the globe and that practice is that every five to eight years, the CBN is supposed to redesign or do some form of changes to its currency.
“The reason is that CBN has to be in the position from time to time to have control of money supply in the country. Unfortunately, we have not had the luxury of carrying out this important aspect of our mandate in the last almost 19 years to the extent that in 2015, the currency in circulation was N1.4 trillion. “In October 2022, currency in circulation had risen to N3.23 trillion. More than doubled in seven years. It’s very unfortunate that it more than doubled in eight years. Out of the N3.23 trillion, more than N2.7 trillion was outside the banking system. More than N2.7 trillion is held in people’s homes.
“What that does is that it makes our mandate of monetary policy very difficult. When we are not in control of N2.3 trillion, what we see in the banking system is just about N500 billion. There is no how our law which you the lawmakers have made for us to carry out, our work can be effective and that is the reason.
“I thank the president that in 19 years, we have had an opportunity to carry out this important aspect of our mandate. We are grateful to him because he listened after we provided him with the needed explanations about what we have been going through in the monetary policy.
“Now, the president graciously gave approval on October 6, 2022, and we had expected that around December 15, the currency circulation will begin, but we were lucky that we moved forward the circulation in November when the president launched the currency.”
Speaking further, Emefiele accused commercial banks of breaching the apex bank guidelines, with the way the new naira was being sprayed in parties.
He told the lawmakers that the apex bank was working closely with relevant agencies of the federal government to ensure full compliance with the CBN guidelines issued to the banks for the seamless distribution of the new banknotes.
While anticipating more benefits of the policy in the future, he appealed to Nigerians for their support, stressing that the naira redesign was good of Nigerians.
“I addressed the bankers on Sunday and I expressed to them my disappointment and in fact, the disappointment of the president, the disappointment of leaders in the country with the way this has gone on because many of us have unfortunately seen the new naira instead of being used for the purpose it was meant, the new naira is being used in parties, in celebrations.
“Some of them (bank CEOs) said well, maybe it’s money from the ATMs and I said no, money from the ATMs are already broken. They are in leaflets but what we saw being stamped on people at parties were packages of the new naira notes which means they had breached certain aspects of the guidance note we gave to them.
“And when I met President Buhari, I told him that we have met with the EFCC, the ICPC and NFIU and that we are now going to bring EFCC, ICPC, NFIU to join us in monitoring the flow of this currency to our people. I must say that I am even delighted that even yesterday, I read that the DSS has started that, which is what we want so that everybody knows that we are conducting this activity to the best of our ability.
“We are doing this for the good of Nigerians. We are doing this so that the Nigerian economy can be better than it is today and I am saying that we are beginning to see some of the benefits.”
Continuing, Emefiele said: “Inflation last month is not rising, not stagnating but somehow moderating. We are expecting that it will continue to moderate. The exchange rate is stable and we are hoping that with this exercise, the naira can even get stronger.
“We know in the process that some will be hurt, I will say temporarily. But it’s a pain that I will appeal to all of us to please show some understanding because the overriding benefits to Nigerians are what we are interested in which is about making our economy stronger than combatting the high incidence of insecurity.
“Yes, we saw a few failings on the part of the banks and we appealed to EFCC, ICPC, and NFIU; they are currently working with our officials nationwide to make sure that this process goes on seamlessly.
“We are happy that the exercise has achieved a success of over 75 percent in our villages, etc. It is on the basis of that we now have a 10 days extension for the more and more of this to be collected and then we make more disbursement,” Emefiele said
However, in a statement after the meeting with lawmakers, following news making the rounds on the redemption of the old banknotes, the Director, Corporate Communications Department at the CBN, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, explained to journalists that the old notes would cease to be legal tender after February 10, 2023, and could no longer be used for any form of transaction afterward.
However, he reiterated that in line with the provision of Section 20(3) of the CBN Act, Nigerians would have the opportunity to redeem the face value of the naira only at the central bank, after the currency had lost its legal tender status, subject to meeting certain conditions.
Reiterating the pledge of the Emefiele, at the meeting with the House of Representatives Ad-hoc committee, Nwanisobi said Nigerians would not lose their money, even as he urged citizens to take advantage of the extended deadline of February 10, 2023, to deposit the old banknotes currently in their possession at their banks or through mobile money agents.
Citing instances in other climes, Nwanisobi explained that banknotes that cease to be legal tender are only redeemable by the monetary authorities of such jurisdictions upon demand subject to conditions /processes as may be prescribed by that Central Bank.
Nwanisobi also used this opportunity to encourage Nigerians to adopt other payment channels for their transactions, saying that Nigeria’s payment system is robust enough and ranks amongst the first in the world.
Meanwhile, reacting to the presentation by Emefiele during the meeting with the lawmakers, the chairman of the committee, Hon. Ado Doguwa, who was elated by the CBN governor’s remarks thanked him. Doguwa said that had Emefiele given the lawmakers the assurance earlier, there wouldn’t have been any need for the meeting.
“Thanks for this wonderful presentation. I call it wonderful because absolutely, you can see the wisdom in what people say in every engagement, communication matters.
“It is only when you interface, you have an opportunity to understand the policy of the government. So, this is a welcome submission, but unfortunately at a belated point. If you had communicated this much earlier, this crisis would not have come up at all. Nigerians will go home to sleep without any fear at all. “I want to thank you for coming up with this submission most especially your last submission about the position of the law; that the bank will at all times respect the position of the laws of the land.
“It’s clear that in written in black and white. I want to thank you on behalf of the committee for admitting the position of the law,” he said.
Also at the plenary, the House approved the requested restructuring of the N1 trillion additional Ways and Means advances for implementation of the 2022 Supplementary Appropriation Act as passed by the National Assembly.
The lawmakers however postponed consideration of the N22.7 trillion Ways and Means restructuring request forwarded to it and the Senate by President Muhammadu Buhari last December.
Buhari had while assenting to the 2023 budget, warned that Nigeria was at risk of incurring additional N1.8 trillion if the lawmakers failed to pass the request.
The Senate which had promised to consider the request before proceeding with the election break, however, failed to consider it.
The consideration and approval of the N1 trillion Ways and Means followed the adoption of one of the recommendations of the report presented by Committees on Finance, Banking and Currency and Aids, Loans, and Debts Management.
Presenting the report, signed by Hon. James Faleke, members of the Committees said that based on the observations and the Exigencies of the federal government’s current fiscal situation, they recommended the approval of the requested restructuring of the N1 trillion additional Ways and Means advances for implementation of the 2022 Supplementary Appropriations Act as passed by the National Assembly.
They however also recommend further engagement with the executive by the Joint Committee to allow for thorough and detailed work and submissions on the larger part of the Advances which amounts to N22,719,703,774,306.90.
In her contribution, Hon. Chinyere Igwe raised a point of order that the report was signed by only one person, but said the Speaker could use his discretion to pass it.
Responding, Speaker, Gbajabiamila said the full report would be considered later.
Customers Lament Scarcity of New Notes, CBN Steps up Monitoring of Banks
Despite the CBN, vigorous monitoring of commercial banks’ compliance with the directive to load their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) with the newly redesigned naira notes, bank customers yesterday, re-emphasised, their inability to get money dispensed through the ATMs.
This was revealed by some customers, during the monitoring of compliance by banks carried out by officials of CBN in Ijebu-Igbo and Ago-Iwoye, including those within the Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU) campuses and in towns around the area.
However, some branches of financial institutions visited had been complying with the CBN directive.
A customer with one of the banks at Ago Iwoye who identified herself as Salako Deborah expressed dissatisfaction with the situation in the bank, lamenting that there was no money in the ATMs.
Speaking with journalists during the monitoring exercise, CBN Deputy Director, Banking Supervision Department, Lagos, Mr. Jayeola Olugbenga said some of the commercial banks were not cooperating while some were cooperating.
He stressed that banks that don’t comply with their directives would be duly penalised.
“As you can see we are ensuring that they’re giving out the money through the ATMs and we are ensuring that the masses can have access to the redesign notes, some of them were not cooperating while some are cooperating.
“There would be a penalty for those commercial banks who don’t comply with our directives, they would be duly penalised,” he added.
Also speaking, the Deputy Director Research Department, CBN, Dr. Adeniyi Adenuga explained that benefits of the exercise were to discourage financing terrorism.
He added, “The redesigned naira notes will reduce the issue of counterfeiting if not eliminating it in totality.
“If you observe, inflation has been trending upward. With this currency redesign program it will go down and we have also tried to introduce cashless policy.”
More Naira Notes As Banks Get Old Notes Deposited With CBN Today
Written by Rashidat Olushola Okunlade
Following several complaints about the scarcity of old and new naira notes in Nigeria.
Reliable sources in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said banks have been instructed to collect the old Naira noted they deposited in CBN and that before the end of the week, the country would be awash with Naira notes.
Recalled on October 26, 2022, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, announced the introduction of new N200, N500, and N1000 notes.
Mr. Emefiele said that the decision would address cases of kidnapping, terrorism, and other financial crimes.
However, since the policy took effect, the scarcity of both the old and new naira notes has affected a lot of businesses in the country.
The situation further worsened the problems being faced by traders in the market, especially due to the challenges of inadequate storage facilities that lead to post-harvest losses.
FirstBank Calls For Application To 3rd Edition Of FirstBank Management Associate Programme FMAP
By Moninuola Sulaiman
First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider has announced the call for participation in the third season of its FirstBank Management Associate Programme (FMAP).
Interested participants are required to submit their application via https://hdbc.fa.em2.oraclecloud.com/hcmUI/CandidateExperience/en/sites/CX.
The application is extended to the general public as it closes on 24 March 2023.
The FirstBank Management Associate Programme (FMAP) is a 24-month fast-track comprehensive program targeted at young, dynamic, and highly driven individuals that are passionate about making a difference in the financial services industry. The program is designed to build the next generation of leaders to drive the Bank’s vision of being Africa’s Bank of First choice.
FMAP equips participants with an extensive wealth of experience comprised of both classroom and real-life work that affords an insightful and balanced insight into the world of work. The program is targeted at hi-potential young professionals who possess acute thinking skills, financial and methodical skills, and a distinctive ability to communicate effectively and synthesize ideas, information, and data to aid decision-making.
Speaking on the FMAP Season III, Olumuyiwa Olulaja, Group Head, Human Capital Management and Development, said “since its inauguration in half a decade, we are delighted with the giant strides and impact the initiative has had in promoting the career development of emerging talents in the financial services industry as they are instilled with the tenets and ethics of the banking industry in line with global best practice.
The FMAP initiative is amongst the many ways we reinvest in our human capital as we build the next generation of leaders through their exposure to various opportunities essential to preparing their readiness for the future.
Since its launch in 2018, FirstBank has successfully trained and onboarded up to fifty talented individuals in 2 editions (2020 and 2022), who have all been deployed into strategic roles in the Bank and making a difference in the organization, while we continue to support their leadership growth and development.
Leveraging Mobile Money To Drive Financial Inclusion Of Women
By Rosemary Kimaku, Business Development Manager, Mobile Financial Services at Ericsson, and Mohit Bhargava, Mobile Money Marketing Lead
The World Bank’s Global Findex Database 2021 shows that the world has made considerable progress toward female financial inclusion in the last 10 years. The gender gap in formal financial account ownership across developing countries has fallen from 9% to 6%, highlighting that women are getting closer to financial equality.
Growth in account ownership by women is much faster than men and 68% of adult women in developing countries are now included in formal financial systems. In many developing countries, this growth in account ownership amongst women is mainly driven by mobile money.
Mobile money accounts have a simple registration process that requires less documentation and better affordability with zero fees and no minimum balance requirements. Consequently, in many developing countries mobile money services have become a leading alternative to banking systems. Data from Global Findex and FinScope studies corroborates this with reports showing that in at least 20 low- and middle-income countries more women have mobile money accounts than bank accounts. In 10 of these 20 countries, the leading mobile money service is powered by Ericsson Wallet Platform, our global fintech platform. In three of these countries, Rwanda, Uganda, and Ghana, more than half of the adult female population has a mobile money account. Furthermore, in six of 10 countries, 30% to 40% of the female adult population has a mobile money account.
Unsurprisingly, in most of these countries, less than 20% of the female adult population has a bank account. The numbers indicate that in these countries mobile money has contributed substantially to increasing the financial inclusion of women.
Mobile money helps to narrow the gender gap in financial access in some countries. For example, in Liberia the gender gap in mobile money account ownership is 8 percentage points, compared to bank or financial accounts where it is 19 percentage points. In Uganda, Ghana, Cameroon, and Liberia, more women than men have only a mobile money account. For example, in Ghana 31% of women have only a mobile money account compared to 27% of men.
Service providers encourage the adoption of mobile money amongst women by offering services focused on women. Examples include grant distribution for girls’ education into their mother’s mobile money account, insurance and monetary support for healthcare, subsidy disbursement to women for shifting to clean cooking fuels, micro-loans for women entrepreneurs running small and medium-sized businesses, and many more. Mobile money also digitizes traditional financial tools mainly used by women like savings clubs, burial societies, and village savings and loans associations (VSLAs) making them more secure, transparent, and easy to use. In some countries, female merchants make up a considerable part of local markets. Mobile money enables these low-income merchants to go digital, accept mobile payments, and modernize their businesses at low-cost.
There are a few other steps required to increase mobile money adoption by women:
- All stakeholders including governments, NGOs, regulators, industry bodies, and mobile money providers should work collectively to roll out digital and financial literacy programs for women and create more awareness about the benefits and use of mobile money services.
- Raise the participation of women in the entire mobile money ecosystem. Mobile money providers should increase the proportion of female mobile money agents, enable more female merchants to accept mobile money, feature women in mobile money marketing campaigns, and have more female employees at all levels of mobile money organizations from technology to leadership roles. This will create a more female-focused and female-friendly environment and generate more trust and comfort amongst women consumers.
- Governments and mobile money providers should enable a collection of more detailed gender-disaggregated data. High-quality gender-disaggregated data can be a very useful tool to develop baseline targets, policies, and programs to reduce the gender gap in financial inclusion.
It is encouraging to see that mobile money enables equal access to financial services and works towards increasing the financial inclusion of women in many countries. However, this is just the beginning, and we need to increase the efforts multifold to fully close the gender gap in financial access. Ericsson Wallet Platform along with the mobile financial services it powers will continue focusing on leveraging and enhancing mobile money as a tool to drive full financial inclusion for women.
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