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Economy

Banks are not collecting new notes, CBN reveals as deadline draws close

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*Says, erring banks will face penalty

By Francesca Iwambe

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revealed that commercial banks are refusing to collect the new naira notes.

The apex bank had directed the commercial banks to approach its branches across the country to pick up the new naira notes to ensure access to all bank customers.

It further warned that it will melt out penalty on any bank that refused to collect the new notes.

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The newly redesigned notes are poorly circulating in the face of the January 31 deadline.

The apex bank has insisted that there is no plan to extend the deadline for the discontinuation of the use of the old notes as legal tender.

The Director, Legal Services Department, CBN, Salam Alada, revealed that commercial banks are refusing to collect the new notes while speaking during a sensitization tour at the Computer Village, Ikeja, Lagos.

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He said the new naira notes were in the apex bank’s vaults awaiting pick up by the commercial banks.

“I am reliably told that we are actually begging commercial banks to come and take money (the new notes) from the CBN. We have these new naira notes in our vaults and we are waiting for banks to come and collect it,” he said.

Alada disclosed that the apex bank was currently going around commercial banks and their Automated Teller Machines (ATM) to ensure the stoppage of across-the-counter withdrawals so as to allow for even distribution.

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“We don’t want a situation where one chief who is known to the manager or everyone will cart away all the new naira notes from a particular branch.

“And that is why we said if you want the new naira notes, walk to the ATM where there is no distinction between myself and the hawker over there,” he stated.

He also said penalties await banks that fail in coming to pick up the new notes, as well as those who fail to disburse them through their ATMs.

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“What you have been experiencing will actually ease off very soon because the banks now know there will be a penalty for failure to come and pick the new naira notes from the CBN and the failure to load the notes into their branches.”

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Economy

JUST IN: CBN To Reverse Naira Swap, Cash Withdrawal Limit Policies

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The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has demanded for the immediate reversal of the cash withdrawal limit policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the time-frame for the exchange of old Naira notes.

According to the coalition, Nigerians should no longer be expected to continue to tolerate the high-handedness of the Governor of the CBN, Godwin Emefiele, which is already pushing the nation to the brinks.

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In a statement by CNG spokesperson, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, on Friday in Abuja, he described the insistence of the CBN Governor on a short deadline for the Naira swap and limit for cash withdrawal as insensitive, irrational, unthoughtful and a clear recipe for disaster.

The statement reads: “The CNG finds it curious that an individual appointee of government would assume such arrogant larger than life status to push harsh difficult conditions on an entire nation just to achieve his personal desires.

“It is important for Emefiele to begin to accept the reality that no one owns Nigeria and Nigerians and that the nation is angry and would not be expected to tolerate, accommodate or condone destructive actions by officials who choose to play God”, Suleiman stated.

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CNG also warned that there is already a raging national anger over the mass sufferings brought about by the new regime of economic policies that are clearly not working.

“Already, confusion has set in, millions of households were going hungry, businesses were closing down with palpable anger mounting all across the country.

“It is the peak of official impunity to insist on the imposition of and implementing a financial policy in an unstable economic environment that lacks the necessary infrastructure to operate it.

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“Based on this, the CNG hereby categorically rejects in its totality any further attempt to throw the nation into confusion by a single individual’ rigidity, whoever that individual may be.

“We condemn with all our might the suspicious rigid desperation by Emefiele to implement these policies without ensuring the intensification of public enlightenment about the cashless system so that everybody will be acquainted with the system, since there is a high rate of illiteracy.

“We reject these ignoble policies sought to be imposed on Nigerians without government providing uninterrupted power supply and adequate communication link. ‘The imposition of these policies without addressing the issue of network failure is also suspicious, smacks of a hidden agenda and therefore unacceptable.

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“Finally, the CNG holds that it is unacceptable for a single individual to be allowed to hold the entire nation to ransom in the pursuit of his personal political agenda having lost the bid to contest the presidency.

“And for the avoidance of doubt the CNG may be left with no option than to join the calls for a nationwide sustained protest if the CBN fails to make the new naira notes available and readily accessible,” the group added.

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Economy

Redesigned Naira Notes: ICPC Nabs Bank Official over Sabotage

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By Emma Onuwa

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission officials have nabbed a bank official in one of the commercial banks in Deidie a suburb in the Federal Capital Territory for alleged sabotage.

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This is in continuation of its clampdown at elements frustrating efforts in making the redesigned Naira notes available to members of the public.

NaijaBlitzNews reports that the spokesperson of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission Mrs Azuka Ogugua stated this in a statement to newsmen in Abuja on Friday.

The bank official, who is the Branch Service Head of Stanbic IBTC Bank, Deidei Branch, Abuja, was taken into custody for her deliberate refusal to upload cash into the branch’s Automated Teller Machines (ATM) even when the cash was available, and people were queuing at the ATMs.

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When the ICPC monitoring team stormed the bank at about 1:30pm to ensure compliance, and demanded explanation as to why all the ATMs were not dispensing cash, it was informed by the branch’s Head of Operations that the bank just got delivery of the cash.

However, facts available to the ICPC operatives indicated that the branch took delivery of the cash around 11:58am and either willfully or maliciously refused to feed the ATMs with the cash.

Against this backdrop, the ICPC team compelled the bank to load the ATMs with the redesigned Naira notes and ensured that they were all dispensing before arresting the culprit.

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Investigations are still ongoing, and the Commission will take appropriate actions as soon they are concluded.

In a related development, the ICPC Compliance Team in Oshogbo has busted an FCMB in Osogbo, Osun State where some ATMs were loaded with cash with their wrappers un-removed, thus preventing the cash from being dispensed. The Team therefore directed that the wrappers be removed, and the cash loaded properly.

However, when a follow-up visit was undertaken the following day to ascertain the level of compliance, the Team discovered that one of the ATMs was still loaded with the wrappers un-removed.

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The Operation Manager of the Bank was arrested and taken in for questioning.

Similarly, seven Point of Sale (POS) operators as well as a security guard were arrested during the ongoing exercise in Osun State for charging exorbitant commissions for cash. Investigations however, revealed that they got the money from Filling Stations that collect new notes from fuel buyers, but they then resell the cash to the public at exorbitant rates.

The arrested persons are helping the Commission with information to assist investigations to bust the syndicates involved in the hoarding or sales of the redesigned notes.

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END.

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Economy

Naira Swap: Buhari begs Nigerians for 7 days to solve cash crunch

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*Promise to crackdown on saboteurs

By Francesca Iwambe

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President Muhammadu Buhari had urged citizens to give him seven days to resolve the cash crunch that has become a problem across the country from the policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria to change Naira notes with new ones.

Buhari made this pledge while playing host to the Progressive Governors Forum who came to the Presidential Villa to seek solutions to the cash crunch which they said was threatening the good records of the administration in transforming the economy.

The president says he will revert to the CBN and the Minting Company after which a decision will be taken.

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According to a presidential statement after the meeting ,President Buhari said the currency re-design will give a boost to the economy and provide long-term benefits while expressing doubts about the commitment of banks in particular to the success of the policy.

“Some banks are inefficient and only concerned about themselves”, said the President, “even if a year is added, problems associated with selfishness and greed won’t go away”.

The President said when he considered giving the approval to the policy, he demanded an undertaking from the CBN that no new notes will be printed in a foreign country and they in turn gave him assurances that there was enough capacity, manpower and equipment to print the currency for local needs.

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He said;” I have seen television reports about cash shortages and hardship to local businesses and ordinary people and gave assurances that the balance of seven of the 10-day extension will be used to crackdown on whatever stood in the way of successful implementation.

“I will revert to the CBN and the Minting Company. There will be a decision one way or the other in the remaining seven days of the 10-day extension,” the President assured.

The Governors told the President that, while they agreed that his decision on the renewal of currency was good and they are fully in support, its execution had been botched and their constituents were becoming increasingly upset.

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They told the President that, as leaders of the government and party in their different states, they were becoming anxious about a slump in the economy and the series of elections that are coming. They requested the President to use his powers to direct the concurrent flourish of the new and old notes till the end of the year.

The President said when he considered giving the approval to the policy, he demanded an undertaking from the CBN that no new notes will be printed in a foreign country and they in turn gave him assurances that there was enough capacity, manpower and equipment to print the currency for local needs.

He said he needed to go back to find out what was actually happening.

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President Buhari told the Governors that, being closer to the people, he had heard their cries and will act in a way that there will be a solution.

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