Cash Swap Policy And Enemies Within 

Cash Swap Policy And Enemies Within 

When the apex bank, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, handled the idea of the nation’s currency redesign, it had told Nigerians that it was embarking on a statutory role which has been long overdue.

Some unconfirmed sources say, it is routine which ought to be perfected every decade and a half in the nation’s life cycle.

With the benefit of hindsight, the last currency redesign and swap took place in 1984, nearly four decades ago.

By sheer coincidence, it was President Muhammadu Buhari who superintended over the exercise then as military Head of State. Now, we have come a full cycle and under his tenure again as civilian President we are experiencing another turn.

Under the guidance of the CBN, the exercise of swapping the old currency notes with the new ones was to terminate on January 31 but was later extended to February 10. With a few days to go, there has been several agitations that the deadline be further shifted even as several stakeholders hold that shifting the deadline would be unrealistic and unsustainable. This group believes that even if the extension was given beyond the stated date, it would still be the same as many would still not be realistic in swapping their old notes as required. It would be an unending cycle, they stressed.

Given CBN’s reckoning, the programme was essentially devoid of any political motive against the tendentious position of many. Some critics of the exercise have opined that the move was aimed at frustrating political parties and their associates ahead the general elections due to commence in a few days.

We, not given to this loose disposition because, the CBN had given ample notice to all Nigerians on this move and had not exempted any particular sect from the exercise.

We are compelled to align with the thoughts that given any further extension, more Nigerians would continue to call for more of such.

The bank has given several options through which these swaps can seamlessly take place but for the sabotage of many unscrupulous individuals and bank officials who have seen the exercise as an opportunity to rip off hapless citizens.

Some emergency money dealers have turned it to a routine business where they now charge as much as N250 per a thousand on PoS and other payment channels while others make customers pay extra sums for validly buying items using legitimized payment channels. These absurdities are unwholesome and disturbing.

Again, it is uncivilised that many banks are at the beck and call of some moneybags who swap their notes for them regardless of the need of the silent majority. That also negates one salient aspect of the exercise which ought to check money laundering and related vices.

We commend the CBN for opening several channels to ease the pressure on banks but equally urge the security agencies to check out for the excesses of some of these deposit money banks, super agents as well as mobile money operators. 

We call on the apex bank to live to its promise of  the availability of the new notes and ensure people do not lose their money as a result of the policy.

 We appreciate the measures and in recognition of the need to maximise the channels through which underserved and rural communities can exchange their Naira, the Bank launched a cash swap programme in partnership with Super Agents & DMBs. 

We are concerned that the failure of the traditional banking system to discharge their statutory functions has left a yawning gap, leading to the various distortions and crises running through the system. We urge the banks to be more professional in the days ahead to forestall further turbulence we have seen in some states in the aftermath of the currency swap programme.  

As the Supreme court has temporarily halted the deadline of February 10, we urged those concern to be law abiding and also make the money available before the date slated for hearing at the apex court. 

Tags assigned to this article:
CBNCentral Bank of Nigeria

Translate »