By Stephen Ubanna
Officials of Commercial
The Bank officials knew that they are in for trouble when Folashodun Shonubi, the Bank governor, Currency Operations at the instance the instance of Emefiele,
The CBN, officials had expected the operating Commercial Banks in the country to stop the finance abuse but no luck. They are Access Bank Plc, Fidelity Bank Plc, First City Monument Bank Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc,, United Bank of Nigeria PLC, and Zenith Bank Plc. This is in addition to the following foreign Banks with CBN authorisation to operate to operate in the country: Citibank Nig. ltd, Eco Bank Nigeria Plc, Heritage Banking limited, Keystone Bank limited, Polaris Bank limited, successor to Skye Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Standard Chartered, and Sterling Bank.Shonubi, the CBN, deputy governor, revealed that virtually all the Banks are guilty of the counterfeit note offence. She noted that despite repeated moral suasions to the Banks to stop the mess, the situation has continued unabated.
Investigation by The Value News shows that the apex Bank had given the Banks the nod to destroy the mutilated notes in their Bank branches but that was how far it could. It was said to have gone a step further in Collaborating with key currency management stakeholders such as DMBs, manufacturers of currency management equipment, currency transportation, processing companies, security agencies and the general public . She noted that the essence was to develop Banknote fitness guidelines and Clean Note Policy documents for the nation’s Banking Industry to address the Counterfeit Note problem but not much appeared to have been achieved.
Perhaps, to force the Commercial Banks cue into the apex Bank policy to stop the use of Counterfeit Notes in the country, the Bank Management were said to have approved Spots checks on the DMBs’ ATMSs and Teller points to watch over them. The Bank was said to have approved a one million naira penalty for any branch of the DMBs caught in the act. The Bank may have considered the measures put in place by the CBN , to stop the Counterfeited Notes rumour i as laughable, insisting that the former apex Bank’s top official claim that over 20 percent of the local Currency in circulation are counterfeited was false.
The DMBs may have challenged the CBN officials to come out with empirical evidence suggesting that 20 percent of the naira in circulation in the country was fake, thus forcing the Bank to quickly launch the two policy documents which had been in offing since last January which had given it the legal backing to enforce the policies to ensure Compliance by the DMBs. Isaac Okorafor, the CBN acting Director of Corporate Communications may have assured Nigerians that that they have no reason to worry about Counterfeited Notes as the Bank ”frowns strongly at Counterfeiting the naira. He maintained that the Emefiele led CBN, remain committed to safeguarding the ”value of the naira by ensuring that the country bank notes are not susceptible to Counterfeiting”.
The CBN may have sent a signal to the Banks that it would no longer pay lip service to the war against Counterfeited and mutilated notes in the country. On Thursday, May 2, 2019, Okoroafor, the apex Bank Spokesperson re-echoed its decision to ”impose stiff sanctions on Commercial Banks and individuals that dispense mutilated and Counterfeited naira notes.
Appealing to private companies to increase their participation in the currency management value chain, the CBN, Image maker disclosed that it is one of the safest measures to enhance Clean Currency policy”.
For the first time, the CBN,management appears to be serious in giving value to the country’s currency by empowering the Branch Comptrollers across the country to work closely with the security agencies personnel in their respective states of operation to ensure that cases of Currency mutilation and Couterfeit are reduced to the barest minimum.
The CBN acting Director of Corporate Communication who could not hide his feelings stressed bank notes remain ”important for payments and settlement of commercial transactions in the country”. it is therefore not very surprising why Emefiele and his management team have moved to shore up the value of the naira by restoring its integrity and public confidence in it.
Given that the BN officials cannot be everywhere, the CBN , Image maker has urged Nigerians to be the eye and ear of the Bank and endeavour to report any of the bank branches flouting the Clean c Currency policy and guidelines for quick actions to be taken and the branch sanctioned .
According to him the duty of the banks are to return mutilated and Counterfeit notes to the apex Bank for destruction in exchange for clean notes. He disclosed that the cost of currency management and minting by the Bank is enormous and therefore the need to ensure that only clean currency notes are in circulation. The leading Commercial Banks in the country UBA, Zenith, Access, GTB, First Bank and Stanbic IBTC appear to have cue into the CBN clean currency policy despite claims the CBN claims that virtually all the DMBs are guilty of the counterfeited and mutilated currency crime.
Tony Elumelu, Chairman, UBA, would not want to hear that the Bank is still dispensing mutilated naira notes in any of its branches. he was said to have put in a word to Kennedy Uzoka , the Bank Group Managing Director to ensure that the Bank abide with the CBN clean currency policy without further delay. The Bank brabch mangers were said to have cued into the policy to avoid being sanctioned to pay the N one million naira fine. The situation was the same in Zenith and other notable DMBs branches across the country.
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