By Nduka Chiejina,
With effect from Monday 23, January 2023, rural dwellers and Nigerians living where there are no banking services can swap their old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes for the redesigned notes.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) had insisted that anybody who wished to have the redesigned notes must open a bank account and deposit their old notes.
However, the CBN sent out a circular signed by Haruna Mustafa, Director Banking Supervision Department and Musa I. Jimoh, Director, Payment System Management Department to all Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) Mobile Money Operators (MMOs), Super Agents and Agents.
In the circular at the weekend titled: “Naira redesign policy: CBN launches cash swap programme in rural/underserved areas” the CBN said the programme will enable “citizens in rural areas or those with limited access to formal financial services to exchange old Naira notes for redesigned notes”.
From Monday, old N1000, N500, N200 notes can be exchanged for the newly redesigned notes and/or the existing lower denominations (N100, N50 and N20, etc) which remain legal tender.
Under the new initiative, agents can only exchange a maximum of N10,000 per person. “Amounts above N10,000 may be treated as cash-in deposit into wallets or bank accounts in line with the cashless policy”.
Agents are also required to demand for BVN, NIN, or Voter’s card details of the customers before accepting to exchange more than N10,000.
The new cash swap programme, the CBN said “is also available to anybody without a bank account.
“Agents were urged to open a wallet or account instantly upon request, “leveraging the CBN Tiered KYC Framework”.
This will, the circular, said will “ensure that this category of the populace are able to exchange or deposit their cash seamlessly without taking unnecessary risk or incurring undue cost”.
Agents were authorised to sensitise their customers on opening wallets/bank accounts and the various channels for conducting electronic transactions.
Some designated agents are eligible to collect the redesigned notes from DMBs “in line with the Revised Cash Withdrawal Limit policy”.
Agents have been given permission to “charge cash out fees for the cash swap transactions but prohibited from charging any further commissions to customers for this service”. The apex bank was however silent on how much the agents should charge as cash out fees.
As part of the cash swap programme, agents are expected to “render weekly returns to their designated banks regarding the cash swap transactions, while DMBs will in turn render same to the CBN on a weekly basis”.
The CBN warned that Principals (Super Agents, MMOs, DMBs) will “be held accountable for their agents adherence to the above guidelines”.
It assured rural dwellers and those targeted by the programme that “Cash Swap agents will be readily identifiable in all local governments, particularly those in the rural areas”.