Abuja — The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Tuesday rolled out a campaign to inject lower currency denominations into the financial system with a view to stemming their shortage which has elicited the clamour by traders and regular users for the Bank's intervention.
To address the scarcity of the lower denominations, including N100, N50, N20, N10 and N5, the CBN jump-started a sensitisation exercise at the popular Wuse market in Abuja.
The Director, Currency Operations of the CBN, Mrs. Priscilla Eleje, who spoke during the exercise, said the central bank was unhappy that lower denomination naira notes were in short supply, assuring that the bank would address the challenge headlong.
However, she cautioned against hoarding and cloning of the notes, adding that anyone caught would be made to face the full wrath of the law.
Eleje also warned those who hoard the lower denominations for the purpose of profiteering from their resale to have a rethink, adding that such people risk prosecution when caught.
"We spend money to print money every year. But we don't see the money in the market. So, we called the market unions and banks to a meeting in our office on how to resolve that.
"We are here to inform you that we have started giving money to you traders via your association and the banks.
"We will monitor the disbursements and spending. No more sales of lower denomination currencies. The police are on the lookout and will arrest and prosecute offenders. We will give the money to the association via the commercial banks.
"All you need to do is take your higher denomination currencies to your association and exchange with lower denomination currency equivalent. It's not like the money is free. It's just an exchange and we want it to be available to you people to do your business with ease.
"So, please let us know if you can't access it. We want to ensure you trade seamlessly, Eleje said.
She also described counterfeiting of money as a complete economic loss, noting that the main loser is the holder.
"The banks have been directed to return the counterfeited currency to us so that we study it to see the security features that are being counterfeited.
"So, we try to know which features are probably vulnerable and so we improve on those, going forward.
"We have reports of banks issuing Counterfeit money. We are also monitoring banks issuing money that are mutilated. Report such banks to the CBN and you will get a redress," she admonished.
In his remarks, the Chairman of the Wuse Market Association, Mr. Raphael Okorie, applauded the CBN for the prompt intervention in addressing paucity of lower currency denominations nightmare as well as other support extended to the Nigerian business community.