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CBN moves to hammer commercial banks over failure to dispense new naira notes

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Henceforth, all commercial banks in Nigeria are to load the newly-designed naira notes into the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) or face sanctions from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which has vowed to maintain the January 31 date for the complete withdrawal of the old notes in circulation.

At the last quarter of last year, the apex bank had announced the change of the designs and colours of the N200, N500 and N1000 denominations, alongside pegging the daily withdrawal of cash across the counter.

However, while readjusting the withdrawal policy which was limited to N100,000 weekly, to N500,000, due to pressure from many Nigerians including the National Assembly, the bank was silent on the redesigned currencies, even when the same NASS, in its resolution, demanded that the termination date be pushed to June, 2023.

The latest directive is coming against the complaints by bank customers and Nigerians in general of their inability to access the new notes, especially from the ATM machines, which has become quite popular with the ordinary people.

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To underscore the need to comply with its directive, the bank last week, specifically ordered commercial banks to halt dispensing the new currency notes over the counter but to make them available only via ATMs.

The apex bank, through Ahmed Umar, Director, Currency Operations (DCO), at the training session for state directors of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), threatened to penalise commercial banks failing to comply with the directive, against the backdrop of reports that the new currencies were still scarce.

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Restating that the the purpose of the CBN directive was to implement the January 31 deadline for the withdrawal of old naira notes in circulation, he said: “We want to use this training session to pass a message that CBN has enough currency notes to go round the general public.

“We, CBN management, have mandated banks to stop putting old notes in their ATM machines. They should only put the new notes. And there is a serialisation of the policy that they can put either N500, N1000 or N200 note whichever denomination they have or combination of any of those notes, they should just put a new note in their machines.

“We are going to monitor to ensure that the banks comply and if they don’t, we have a penalty for non-compliance. In our own case what we had was basically over 20 years of having the same design of note.

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“Over that period, what it did to us was to create an avenue for some people to master the act of counterfeiting the note. In our own case, what we have is the minimum of 17 years or more for us to redesign our currency.

“If you notice the N1000 note that was introduced in 2005, it took 17 years for us to redesign it. N500 and N200 notes were also redesigned after 21 years and 22 years respectively. So, if currency notes stay too long in the system, there is a tendency that people who counterfeit make a lot of efforts to produce the same notes. So, that is why there is a need to change our notes regularly.”

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Warning Nigerians about counterfeiting of the new currencies, said N500 and N1000 naira notes constitute 99 percent of the target by the fraudsters, adding: “It is simple logic, the effort you put to counterfeit N1000 is the same effort you put to counterfeit N5. So, why will they waste their energy doing small note; they always target the higher note particularly N1000, because of values attached to it.”

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Tough economy: Trouble in APC, as staff plan strike

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A loud grumbling has enveloped the 40 Blantyre Crescent, Wuse, Zone 2, Abuja, headquarters of the All Progressives Congress (APC), where staff across different departments are threatening to down tools in protest of poor welfare and biting economic hardship.

Daily Trust, is reporting that the staff are specifically asking the party’s top echelon to make provision for their housing and other allowances, stressing that the economic situation of the country had become quite unfavourable to them.

The paper quoted one of the staff, who spoke on condition of anonymity, as saying that the party’s executive members had left them to suffer, while taking home humongous amounts of money as salaries and allowances.

Though Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, National Chairman of the party, is said to have commenced payment of N35,000 provisional wage award to them in January 2024, they argued that the largesse would in June, and they would be back to square one and therefore, they needed more stable welfare packages.

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In a swift riposte, Felix Morka, spokesman of the party, was quoted as dismissing the agitation, saying: “Those matters I don’t really discuss them. As you can see, there are many important things to discuss; at the national level, in Edo State. We are battling with all that. So, any in-house matters are not my focus right now.”

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BREAKING: Davido ups the ante, doles out N300million to orphanages

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David Adeleke Nigerian music sensation, otherwise known as Davido is stamping his giant feet with which he has mesmerised his audience across the world in the arena of philanthropy, with an announcement of a fresh donation of a whopping N300million to some orphanages across the country.

The latest is an increase of N63million up from the N237million the popular singer, who disclosed the largesse in a statement on his social media accounts on Tuesday, dolled out last year as part of the gesture in what is now turning out a yearly programme since it started a few years ago.

The gesture is coming at a time Nigeria is under an intense weather of deprivation and poverty, with the prices of food and other commodities hitting the roof and citizens, unable to afford basic items mostly going to bed on empty stomachs as a result.

In recent weeks, demonstrations had erupted in many parts of the country, including Niger, Kano, Ogun and Oyo States, where residents trooped into the streets to demand an end to the parlous situation, which they blamed on the insensitive policies of the government of Bola Tinubu, the Nigerian President.

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The singer, who first gave out N250m to 292 orphanages in October 2022, said the this year’s donation would be done through The David Adeleke Foundation (DAF), adding: “I and my foundation pledge the sum of 300 million Naira to orphanages around Nigeria … as my yearly contribution to the nation. Details of disbursement tomorrow.”

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BREAKING: Tinubu set to probe Buhari’s N23trillion Ways and Means debt

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At last, President Bola Tinubu, may be going through the N23trillion Ways and Means debt obtained by his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari, with a fine comb to determine what the funds, which is attributed to a major part of the current debt overhang in the country, went into.

The Nation, quoted Wale Edun, Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister for the Economy as revealing this much to participants at the ongoing Public Wealth Management Conference organised by the Ministry of Finance Incorporated (MoFI).

Besides, the Minister reportedly said the Federal Government would also present a bill to the National Assembly, soon to authorise the removal of “all taxes and levies that constitute nuisance from the country’s tax system, as a measure to wean itself from future Ways and Means indebtedness.

The government, Edun added, will vigorously pursue policies that will allow it harvest revenue in real time from Government Owned Enterprises (GOEs) and Corporate entities.

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It was also on the same day that the Minister explained that Tinubu’s administration inherited a surge in food and general commodity prices from the previous government, but emphasised the government’s commitment to reducing food prices and tackling the nation’s high inflation rate.

Outlining the measures government was taking in tackling the situation, he revealed that, the government had released 42,000 metric tons of grains, with an additional 60,000 metric tons scheduled for release soon.

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