The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has threatened to prosecute any commercial bank or any of its staff involved in money hawking.
Meanwhile the bank has also retrieved over N65 billion from banks out of complaints by account users in their various banks.
Mr. Isaac Okorafor, Acting Director, Corporate Communication Department of CBN, who gave the warning in Asaba during a seminar titled ‘’Promoting financial stability and economic development’’ insisted that CBN would punish and dismiss any of its staff caught in such act.
“Well the Central Bank of Nigeria is very committed to making sure people do not hawk the naira. Hawking the naira on the street is a criminal offence and it is punishable under the CBN Act of 2007” he said.
“We are regulators. We are not the law enforcement agency. It is the duty of the Nigeria Police to enforce the law. We have collaborated with them at different times and people have been caught and money confiscated. We are waiting on police to prosecute those people,” he declared.
While urging the law enforcement agencies to help the CBN achieve its goal to stop money hawking, he said the amount was accumulated as a result of wrong treatments in terms of charges and deductions.
“We have recovered from the banks, then refunded the money to the customers over N65 billion since 2012/2013 when we started,” he stated.
He also mentioned that the CBN is doing its best to put more of lower denominations in circulation. He emphasised that this is not the permanent solution to lack of lower denominations in circulation, adding that the process is just to ease the immediate problem.
“As I speak to you, the CBN has started direct disbursement of lower denomination notes across the country. We have been to Kano, Bauchi, Gombe, Lagos, Ibadan because of the problems people are voicing out.
As we have decided that in order to sustain this as a temporary measure, we are working with market associations across the country to distribute the lower denominations to them” he asserted.
He also mentioned that coins is still a legal tender in Nigeria but the problem is because most people feel the value does not commensurate with the weight.
“We introduced coins some years ago, but we need to introduce it with what we call re-denomination. We did this so that we can give value to coins but the political authorities stopped it” he revealed.
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