Commercial bank operators in Nigeria have disputed assertions made by the Central Bank of Nigeria that they are hoarding naira notes despite having enough supply.
The claims of the Central Bank of Nigeria were countered by the officials of commercial banks that appeared before the ad hoc committee of the House of Representative. A committee that was set up to investigate the scarcity of the new note and to intervene on the January 31 deadline set by CBN.
According to BusinessDay, the Managing Director of Access Bank was represented by an official, Hadiza Ambursa, who said only 10 per cent of the money deposited with the CBN has been received.
Ambursa said, “We are not getting the money as quickly as we want them. We only get 10 per cent of the money deposited. We are paying and collecting money. We are also loading our ATM.”
Jimoh Garuba who represented Sterling Bank said that the bank has been receiving weekly allocation, however, it is insufficient to meet the demands from customers.
In his words “As we speak, our Automated Teller Machine is dispensing what we received which fluctuate most time,”
Garuba said that his bank receives a minimum of N150 million from the Central Bank on weekly basis and this is to be shared among its branches.
He added that the allocated weekly money received in Kaduna by the bank is N150 million in Kaduna.
We received N100 million weekly, and we can only dispense through ATM and not through the counter,” he said.
“If we are to go through the counter to dispense the money, the allocation will go in less down 10 minutes.”
He claimed that the amount of money the CBN sends varies frequently, adding that it receives 80% of the money deposited in Abuja and less than 10% in Kano.
He further stated the cashless policy of the Apex bank is the reason the money is not fully in circulation.
One of the United Bank for Africa’s representatives, Arerepade Akagwe, said that the bank had withdrawn 70% of the old note it had placed with the CBN.
She added that there was a directive from the CBN not to issue the old notes from the counter. Meanwhile, the bank receives money from the CBN every day, including today.
Other banks present, including Guarantee Trust Bank, ECO bank, Lotus Bank, and Fidelity, reportedly concurred that they had collected 60% of the old naira money placed, according to The News Agency of Nigeria.
For instance, Lotus Bank claimed that it received around N40 million weekly over the previous few weeks and it was insufficient owing to their number of customers.
Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, the committee’s chairman, claimed that the bank operators’ appearance before the committee was not a witch hunt, but rather an attempt to gather information on problems affecting the people.
He said, “We need to know the actual facts regarding claims by commercial banks that CBN has not released new notes and the counter claim by the CBN that it has released the same.
He criticized the central bank for setting a deadline for the use of the old notes, saying it is worrisome that it would consider changing the country’s legal tender at a time when elections were being planned.
According to him, the leadership of the house is not pleased with the CBN’s plans to change the legal tender, he claimed, and the CBN should have notified the parliament.
“We are in a democratic government and no one can be greater than the institution of democracy.”