Operators of Commercial Banks in the country have countered the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, over claims that the commercial banks have enough naira notes in their kitty but hoarding them.
The banks countered the CBN when their officials appeared before the House of Representatives ad hoc committee investigating the scarcity of the new notes and the January 31 deadline by the apex bank.
Hadiza Ambursa, an official of Access Bank, who represented the Managing Director of the bank said it only got 10 per cent of the money it deposited with the CBN.
According to her, “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, the representative of Sterling Bank, said it receive allocation weekly from CBN but had no sufficient fund to meet its customers’ demand.
He said, “as we speak, our Automated Teller Machine (ATM) is dispensing what we received which fluctuate most time.”
He said his bank received a minimum of N150 million from the CBN weekly to be shared among its branches in Abuja.
He further said in Kaduna, the bank received N150 million weekly which is shared among its branches across the 36 states of federation.
According to him, in Kano, “we received N100 million weekly and we can only dispense through ATM and not through the counter.
“If we are to go through the counter to dispense the money, the allocation will go in less down 10 minutes.”
He said the percentage of money received from the CBN varies on weekly basis, adding that it receive 80 per cent of what it deposited in Abuja and less than 10 per cent in Kano.
He said the reason the new designed note was not in circulation was a result of cashless policy of the CBN.
Arerepade Akagwe, the representatives of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), said the bank had taken 70 per cent of the old money it deposited with the CBN.
She said the bank collects money from CBN everyday and today isn’t an exception, adding that the directive from the CBN was not to issue the old notes from the counter.
Other banks in attendance such as Guarantee Trust Bank, GTB, ECO bank, Lotus Bank and Fidelity agreed that they have collected 60 per cent of the old naira money deposited.
Lotus Bank for instance said in the last few weeks what it was receiving was insufficient, adding that it received an average of N40 million weekly and that was not sufficient because the customers are many.
Some of the lawmakers, however, queried the workability of the cashless policy, raising concerns about their constituents living in remote control.
The Chairman of the committee, Rep. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, said the bank operators’ appearance before the committee was not a witch hunt exercise but a fact finding on issues affecting the people.
“We need to know the actual facts regarding claims by commercial bank that CBN has not released new notes and the counter claim by the CBN that it has released same.
He berated the apex bank for giving deadline on the old notes, saying it is worrisome that a time the country wanted to hold election that it would consider changing the country’s legal tender.
He said the CBN should have contacted the parliament when it wanted to embark on such nature of changing the legal tender, because the leadership of the house is not happy about it.
According to him, changing of legal tender is not peculiar to Nigeria, it happens world over. But when the CBN wants to bring something sinister, we will blow the whistle.
“We are in a democratic government and no one can be greater than the institution of democracy.”