January 25, (THEWILL) – Ahead of the January 31st deadline for old Naira notes to cease being used as legal tender, the Central Bank of Nigeria has begun a cash swap policy in Bayelsa State through agents, to distribute the newly redesigned notes to rural communities.
To this end, some of the agents were sighted at commercial banks headquarters in Yenagoa trying to get the redesigned notes as part of the swap deal.
The Central Bank of Nigeria recently made arrangements with super agents, as well as mobile money operators to swap the old N200, N500 and N1000 notes for the newly redesigned ones under the policy.
According to the apex bank, they were expected to swap up to N10,000 per person, while amounts above N10,000 would be treated as deposits, an initiative aimed at increasing circulation of the new naira denominations, particularly in the rural areas.
Here in Bayelsa State, the agents from communities across the 8 Local Government Areas of the State could be seen at headquarters of commercial banks in Yenagoa trying to exchange the old notes for new ones as part of the deal.
A Manager with the CBN, Abuja branch, Mr Nweke Jude, during a visit to the commercial banks in the Bayelsa State capital to monitor compliance, said the critical part of the assignment was to actually assess the newly introduced cash swap policy introduced by the CBN to ensure that ordinary people and the under-banked, especially in rural areas would also have access to new notes through super agents and the banks.
Mr Nweke said the goal was to reverse the trend of having much currency out of circulation and the banking sector, stashed in houses and other areas which has impacted negatively on the economy, causing inflation in the process.
An Agent, Mr Okeleyem Augustine-Osain, who said he came all the way from Kolo Three Community in Ogbia Local Government Area to Yenagoa to receive the newly redesigned notes, however, urged the CBN to do more to empower the agents for the swap policy to be effective.
Meanwhile, some customers in the Bayelsa State capital say most Automated Teller Machines operated by commercial banks in the City have continued to dispense the old currencies just as Point of Sales Operatives dispense the old notes.
In the same vein, with few days to the January 31, 2023 deadline, some major supermarkets, departmental stores and traders have stopped accepting the old 200, 500 and 1000 Naira notes, just as some worship centres have advised members to start using the new notes for offerings and tithes, leaving many residents confused over the development.