CBN threatens to sanction Imo banks over alleged withholding of banknotes
Continues sensitising traders in Owerri
Despite large crowd at various banks in Imo State in the rush to return old currency notes to obtain new ones at the weekend, officials of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), at the weekend, continued their intensive sensitisation on the re-designed banknotes (N200, N500 and N1, 000), in about eight markets in Owerri, the state capital.
The apex bank officials addressed representatives of commercial banks operating in the state, expressing disgust over sharp practices uncovered by the team during the on-the-spot assessment of implementation of the policy.
Led by the apex bank’s Director of Policy and Regulations, Chibuzo Efobi, accompanied by the Branch Controller, Boma Oruwari, among others, Efobi regretted that most commercial banks were not dispensing the new naira notes appropriately through the Automated Teller Machines (ATM).
Efobi accused erring banks of keeping new notes in docility, under the cabin/cartridge of their machines instead of opening them for dispensing to the public, maintaining that over-the- counter dispensing of the new banknotes is prohibited until after the deadline.
He warned erring commercial bank operators to be careful in execution of guidelines during the withdrawal period or face serious sanctions.
The director urged traders in markets, other business outlets and users of the Nigerian currency to abide by rules and policy of the apex bank to avoid the wrath of financial laws.
He also encouraged traders to embrace electronic transactions in their day-to-day businesses, instead of relying on cash businesses.
On the issue of continuous dispensing of old currency at banks and Point of Sales (POS) centres, Efobi said: “They remain legal tender within the window. You are advised to continue accepting and exchanging them for businesses until the deadline. No POS or commercial bank has the right to reject old notes. Please go now and send your old currency to the banks to avoid blame.’’
The Guardian gathered that most traders expressed disgust that after efforts to exchange their old notes, they still received old notes in large quantities.