Naira Redesign: CBN to protecting unbanked, underserved

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has restated its commitment to preserving the integrity of the naira whilst protecting the unbanked, underserved and rural areas of the country.

This is coming as the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) urged the CBN to consider redesigning the lower denomination notes to coins, ahead of the release of the redesigned naira notes. This the LCCI said would reduce to cost of printing lower denomination notes of the naira which do not last for long due to their repetitive use. 

The deputy President, LCCI, Mr. Gabriel Idahosa, said this while speaking at the CBN special day at the Lagos International Trade Fair.

“We urge the CBN to implement the correct calibration of monetary policy considering   the resilience of our economy and the implementation of the global monetary spillover to financial stability. As regards issuance of new naira notes, the CBN should also consider converting the country’s lower currency notes into coins to facilitate highly repetitive retail transactions and avoid printing pieces of low-value notes with a short lifespan. We also appeal to the CBN to adopt more innovative ways to establish appropriate policies and take actions that will drive down the inflation rates and strengthen the value of our naira.”

The CBN said it remains committed to the seamless implementation of the initiative, whilst noting that it is pleased with the positive response of the banking public to the redesigning of the naira through increased currency deposits across banks and other financial institutions.

CBN in a press statement issued and signed by the director Corporate Communications, Osita Nwasinobi said the policy was to ensure the achievement of the objectives of the apex bank to preserve the integrity of the local legal tender by reducing the significant amount of cash outside the banking system and its use in criminal activities, curtail counterfeiting, and promote financial inclusion, amongst others.

Noting the progressive increase in financial access points and alternative banking channels over the years (electronic/internet banking, mobile apps, ATM, Cards/PoS, eNaira, agent banking, etc.), CBN said it acknowledges that these may not be evenly distributed across all geopolitical zones and in some rural areas.

“In operationalising this initiative, the CBN has been collaborating with relevant agencies and other stakeholders in the financial system in its execution, particularly ensuring that vulnerable citizens are not disenfranchised.

Accordingly, the banking public in rural and/or underserved areas may access CBN branches in the 36 States of the Federation to enquire about options for depositing their current N200, N500, and N1,000 notes, wallet/account opening processes, financial access points, etc.

“Furthermore, agent locations across the country have been fully enabled for BVN registration, opening banking accounts/wallets & e-Naira wallets, electronic card distribution, and cash deposit, among others. Due to the policy, the agents have also been accorded priority to enable them to deposit cash collections through bank branches across the federation. The Bank shall continue to monitor developments and issue updates to the banking public on the implementation of the Naira redesign policy as may be necessary.”

The statement read. “The Bank shall continue to monitor developments and issue updates to the banking public on the implementation of the Naira redesign policy as may be necessary,” Nwasinobi said.

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