4th February, 2023
By Lydia Ngwakwe
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele has said Nigerians should be ready to queue to access the new naira notes at the banks and the ATMs.
Emefiele, spoke at a news conference on the new naira notes, on Friday, in Lagos in reaction to the protests on the difficulty citizens were facing in accessing the new notes.
He said he has already told the banks to set up tents and chairs and give people numbers as part of the queue system for people wishing to access their money.
”I understand the agitation and I’m begging in God’s name, we on our knees begging people to please show understanding. They should be calm.
”In our meetings with the banks, we have told them to set up tents and chairs, give people numbers, which I’m sure some people will say it is old fashioned.
”But at this time that we’re trying to get the currency in circulation amongst everybody, people have to have numbers and they come in under a queueing arrangement that when you come in you get served, if it finishes, just be patient.
“By tomorrow, when you come back, they will start from where they stopped, you will not be cheated.
“Let’s just be calm and adopt a good queueing system, the assurance we give is that it will eventually go round.
“Eventually the limits will be raised and eventually the limits will be removed and people will be able to conduct their business transactions in a way that it has always been in the past,” Emefiele said.
He also ordered banks to load their Automated Teller Machines with the new naira notes to ensure Nigerians had access to them.
Emefiele also reacted to high charges being charged by the Point of Sale (PoS) agents’ transactions.
The apex bank governor urged banks to stop the charges on PoS.
”I am going to be calling a meeting with the banks this evening or by tomorrow, if those charges go to or those charges have been charged through the bank, we are going to have an arrangement with even telcos to see how those charges can actually at this time be stopped.
”Those charges at this time should be stopped. So, if we know whatever you are making that you’re not making because we stopped it, we can collect it somewhere and look for a way to pay you.
”But we don’t want you to continue to create pain on those who want to use alternative channels when they cannot have cash in their pocket.
”We will go into this later this night or even tomorrow, we’re going to call a meeting of both the banks and the mobile networks; at this time nobody should be charged, if you are charged, we will need to know about it.
”But we would want this service to continue to be offered. Whatever it is in terms of volume and number that you have carried out. We will look for away to pay you your money,” he said.
The redesigned naira notes comprising N200, N500 and N1,000, came into use on Dec. 15, 2022, after they were unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari on Nov. 23, 2022 in Abuja.
The CBN had earlier fixed Jan. 31 as deadline for the collection of old naira notes, but later extended the time limit to Feb. 10.
The CBN governor had said the extension was to allow Nigerians that had naira legitimately earned and trapped, the opportunity to deposit their money for exchange.