The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has refuted claims linking it to artificial scarcity of clean Naira notes in circulation allegedly attributed to the Bank’s refusal to disburse such notes to commercial banks.
Clarifying its position on the spurious claims in a statement, the apex bank stated that it operates a ‘Clean Note Policy’ and ‘Not a Mint Policy’, the implication of which is that Deposit Money (Commercial) Banks (DMBs) and other customers will only be paid in clean notes made up of processed and mint notes.
According to the management, in line with this policy, the CBN had established channels of distribution through which it disburses clean Naira notes to all DMBs licensed to operate in Nigeria, pointing out however, that it has always paid out lower denominations of N5, N10, N20 and N50 notes to commercial banks in mint.
When contacted, the Bank’s Director, Corporate Communications, Ugochukwu Okoroafor, also debunked allegations that officials of the apex Bank were in the practice of hoarding new currency notes only to release same to their agents, who pay them commissions after selling the mint Naira notes to interested members of the public.
The Bank also clarified the fact that it does not have the responsibility for the supply of cash to Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), noting that ATMs are owned and deployed by DMBs, as well as independent outfits. According to the CBN, it is the responsibility of these banks and these other licensed outfits to generate and load ATM-fit banknotes into the cash dispensing machines from cash deposits.
The CBN stated that mint notes are not ATM-fit notes and that responsibility of CBN is to issue cash to its customers by way of cash withdrawals.
The CBN only distributes cash to the commercial banks which in turn supply the ATMs of their respective banks. While disclosing that exchange windows exist at CBN branches nationwide for the swapping of old and worn out currency notes for new ones by citizens, at no extra cost, Okoroafor said the CBN does not deal with private customers as commercial banks. It is the responsibility of commercial banks to interface with their customers in terms of Naira notes.
The CBN statement also noted that the Bank was aware of what it described as the unpatriotic practice of some Nigerians, who, despite media sensitization by the CBN, continue to sell new Naira notes to interested members of the public.