The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has expressed displeasure over the scarcity of lower denominations banknotes for transactions, despite the huge volumes of the notes injected into circulation annually.
Director, Currency Operations Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, Mrs. Priscilla E. Eleje, disclosed this at a public sensitisation and enlightenment programme of the bank on its Direct Intervention on Lower Denominations Banknotes held at Kurmi Market ,in Kano, on Tuesday.
Her words: “In the recent times, the CBN has observed the inadequate circulation of the lower denominations banknotes and the difficulty encountered by economic agents such as marketers, merchants ,shopping malls, supermarkets etc, despite the huge volume of bank notes injected into circulation on annual basis.”
She explained that given the role markets play in economic transactions, the management of the bank has approved to undertake a direct disbursement of these lower denominations to market associations, merchants, shopping malls, stores, super markets, toll gates in exchange for higher denominations.
Mrs. Eleje said that intervention, which was already operational, in Abuja, had been extended to Kano, Lagos, Enugu, Onitsha, Ibadan , Yola, Gombe, Katsina and Jos.
The objective of this intervention, she explained, is to ease the accessibility of these notes and consequently, address the dearth of these denomination in circulation.
According to her, the disbursement would be made through commercial banks of identified markets association and other identified beneficiaries, adding that the account of the beneficiary must be funded before any withdrawal would be made
The banknotes were to be delivered to the beneficiaries without any extra costs to them, adding that the Central Bank has devolved a framework of assessing the judicious use of the disbursed funds.
The framework consists of on the spot checks on the premises of the beneficiaries after the receipts of the notes, including a mystery shopper approach to determine defaulters.