Orders Saturday, Sunday operations, says Emefiele to monitor compliance

From Uche Usim, Abuja

Relief may soon come the way of Nigerians as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Friday, confirmed the evacuation of banknotes from its vaults to commercial banks across the country.

This is a coordinated effort designed to ease the circulation of banknotes of various denominations. The CBN has also directed all commercial banks to open for operation on Saturdays and Sundays.

The Acting Director, Corporate Communications Department of the CBN, Dr. Isa AbdulMumin, disclosed this in Abuja, stating that a substantial amount of money, in various denominations, had been received by the commercial banks for onward circulation to their respective customers.

According to him, the CBN had directed all banks to load their Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) as well as conduct physical operations in the banking halls through the weekends.

“Branches of commercial banks will operate on Saturdays and Sundays to attend to customers’ cash needs,” he noted, adding that the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, would personally lead teams to monitor the level of compliance by the banks in various locations across the country.

He, therefore, urged Nigerians to be patient as the current situation would ease soon with the injection of more banknotes into circulation.

The naira redesign programme, an offshoot of the cashless policy, officially kicked off on December 15, 2022 with the unveiling of new N200, N500 and N1,000 notes.

It is designed to moderate cash spending, tackle terrorism and illicit financial inflows, corruption and other crimes.

The CBN, in its examination of the economy, realised that as at December 2022, N2.7 trillion out of N3.2 trillion currency in circulation was outside the banks.

It also pegged weekly cash withdrawals by individuals and corporate bodies at N500,000 and N5 million, with effect from January 9.

Some state governors dragged the Federal Government to the Supreme Court, which ruled that the new and old naira notes should run concurrently till December 31, when the latter ceases to be legal tender.