The Central Bank of Nigeria will be monitoring commercial banks to ensure that they comply with the directive of loading the redesigned naira notes in their Automated Teller Machines.
The CBN Director, of Currency Operations, Ahmed Umar, made this known in Abuja on Monday at the training session for state directors of the National Orientation Agency.
Umar said that the CBN’s directive was to implement the January 31 deadline withdrawal of old naira notes in circulation.
“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 serialization of the policy that they can put either N500, N1000 or N200 notes whichever the denomination they have or combination of any of these notes, they should just put the new notes 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,” the apex bank director said.
According to him, in many countries of the world, it takes a few years to change a currency note design.
“In our own case what we had was basically over 20 years of having the same design of the note.
“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 a minimum of 17 years or more for us to redesign our currency.
“If you notice the N1,000 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 need to change our notes regularly.”
According to him, another reason for the redesign was that N500 and N1,000 constitute 99 per cent of the currency notes that are being targeted for counterfeiting.
“It is simple logic, the effort you put to counterfeit N1,000 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 N1,000 because of the value attached to it,” he said.
Earlier, the Director-General of NOA, Dr Garba Abari, said that his agency partnered with the CBN to educate NOA members of staff in the 774 local government areas, to assist in enlightening Nigerians on the redesign of new banknotes policy.
Abari expressed hope that the training session would go a long way in addressing misconception and misunderstanding around the new currency notes policy.
He called on all participants to pay serious attention to the training in order to represent CBN well while embarking on enlightenment programmes at the grassroots.