For several weeks now, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has been urging Nigerians to swap old, mutilated naira notes for newer ones at banks nearest to them. But for reasons bordering on poor initial compliance from commercial banks and lack of awareness on the part of people, the directive from the CBN has largely gone unheeded.
The CBN has since stepped up its awareness efforts to get more people informed about the directive and also ordered the banks to comply as doing otherwise would incur penalties. But even as the banks are now open to the idea of swapping the mutilated naira notes, the response from the public has remained tepid generally.
And now the CBN is cranking things up yet again. Nigeria’s apex bank has now given the public a September 2 (on or before Monday) deadline to have their mutilated notes exchanged, and failure to do the swap before the expiration of the deadline might result in people being stuck with their worn notes permanently. And worn notes are usually rejected in many establishments across the country.
The CBN’s Clean Note Policy and Bank Notes Fitness Guidelines is part of the bank’s efforts to improve the overall quality of the naira notes in circulation. That is the rationale behind directing people to deposit mutilated naira notes at any bank branch close to them.
Nigerian banks are now beginning to reach out to their customers via electronic and non-electronic channels to do the needful before the September 2 deadline. The banks are urging people who are in possession of overused or mutilated naira notes to deposit such at branches nearest to them.
The CBN defines mutilated naira notes as currency notes that have been partially or permanently damaged, but which clearly still has more than half of its original size together. On the other hand, overused notes include any naira note that is now weak to such an extent that it could easily tear at further handling or processing.
Those are the kind of naira notes that the CBN is asking Nigerians to take to banks nearest to them in exchange for clean, new ones. And beyond September 2, individuals may be stuck with the bad notes permanently if they fail to comply.
The CBN is also urging Nigerians to take the collective and patriotic responsibility of handling the naira with care seriously so as to improve the quality and condition of Nigeria’s national currency.
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