CBN begins disbursement of lower denomination naira notes to market traders
by Onyinye Nwachukwu, Abuja
February 27, 2018 | 7:24 pm| | | Start Conversation
Worried by the scarcity of lower denomination naira notes in circulation, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday flagged off the disbursement of N5, N10, N20, and N50 notes to traders in the market, beginning with Abuja as pilot.
At a publicity campaign on “Disbursement of Lower Denominations of the Naira’’ at the popular Abuja Wuse Market, Priscilia Eleje, CBN Acting Director, Currency Operations Department, said the CBN through the various associations in the market would exchange lower denominations for higher ones, warning ahead of time that the money “is not free”.
She said the campaign is targeted at the informal sector, especially traders in markets and that the apex bank hopes to increase the circulation of the smaller units of the naira inorder to eased
transactions. According to her, the pilot phase, if successful, would be replicated nationwide.
“The notes we will be disbursing are mints. This money is not meant for you to keep in your house or to go and spray at weddings or sell.
“We have our operatives everywhere and whoever is caught selling these notes will be prosecuted.
“These notes are meant to be used for daily transactions so that when a customer comes to the market, you won’t tell him or her that you don’t have change,’’ she warned traders at the market ahead of the actual take-off of the programme which begins in days.
Eleje said that the money is not free, and that the new strategy would ensure that traders desist from hiking prices of goods, simply to avoid looking for “change.’’ According to her, new naira notes would be distributed to traders within Wuse and Garki Markets and others through their associations.
Also speaking at the campaign, CBN Deputy Director, Currency Operations Department, Vincent Wuranti, educated the traders on how best to handle and maintain the naira notes.
He urged all naira note users to desist from squeezing, writing on them or using dirty hands to handle the notes.
Wuranti also urged the public to inculcate the habit of using walletsin order to safeguard the naira and enable it to have a longer life span.
The Chairman, Wuse Market Association, Rapheal Okoro, said insufficient lower denominations of the naira in circulation is largely affecting patronage by customers and therefore taking a toll
on their businesses.
“When you buy something you cannot get change. There are instances where customers change their minds about buying items because of change, Okoro lamented.
“As a trader, you lend another trader change and he cannot give you back when you need it. This has led to a lot of crisis in the market.
So we are happy that the CBN has come up with this plan.” Okoro further assured the traders that the CBN has agreed to make the funds available to traders on a weekly basis and that the volume would depend on the market demand.
Onyinye Nwachukwu, Abuja
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