The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, says the bank has registered eight companies to carry out Cash-In-Transit as part of key policy measures towards promoting effective and efficient currency management in the country.
Emefiele, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Operations, Adebisi Shonubi, disclosed this at the unveiling of the Clean Notes Policy and Banknotes Fitness Guidelines on Tuesday in Lagos.
He also said two Cash Processing Companies to operate in Nigeria were also registered.
According to him, Deposit Money Banks otherwise known as commercial banks, are expected to patronise only these registered companies for CIT and sorting services.
The governor said it was expected that more private sector participation would be involved in the currency management value chain.
This, Emefiele said, would further strengthen the efforts toward ensuring availability of clean banknotes.
He said: “I wish to use this opportunity to inform the industry that the Central Bank of Nigeria, as part of its effort towards devolving the retail cash management to the private sector, has approved the revised guidelines for registration of CIT/CPCs.
“These guidelines provide for the operation of CITs and CPCs at both National and Regional levels.
“It is hoped that this would encourage unregistered companies to come under the regulatory purview of the central bank and ensure a nationwide coverage of these services.”
The CBN boss said the bank had also put in place strategies to enable direct disbursement of lower banknotes to various market associations and merchants through their respective commercial banks.
He said: “The intervention commenced in Abuja and has been extended to Lagos, Kano, Enugu, Umuahia, Yola, Jos, Gombe, Asaba, Ibadan, Kastina, Uyo, Minna and Port Harcourt.
“Furthermore, the bank reduced the processing charges for DMB deposit of lower denomination banknotes from N50 to N5 to encourage the return of unsorted banknotes to CBN for processing.
“The bank also intends to embark on a project that would enable mop-up of the over-circulated and mutilated banknotes from circulation.
“Furthermore, the bank would continue to embark on sustainable institutional reforms and enact policies that will promote efficient currency management in Nigeria.
“We will continue to sustain our engagement with key stakeholders, to enable us gain insight into the various challenges that end-users face while processing the banknotes.
“I assure you that all suggestions that will help improve currency management operations would be duly considered.
“Consequently, the two policy documents would be reviewed periodically under the NCMS, in liaison with key stakeholders.”
He congratulated the Currency Operations Department and the Nigerian Cash Management Scheme for their foresight and efforts in producing those two important policy documents.
Emefiele noted that the two documents would assist the public and critical stakeholders identify banknotes that were fit for circulation and those unfit to be withdrawn from circulation.
He said: “It is worth noting that the bank has the responsibility for preserving the integrity of the Naira and sustaining public confidence in the national currency as enshrined in Section 2 of the CBN Act 2007.
“To attain these objectives, the bank strives to ensure an optimal supply of clean and quality banknotes in a balanced denominational mix to meet public demand, while also maintaining a balanced currency structure that is both efficient and cost effective.”
The governor said the responsibility for clean notes in circulation was not exclusively that of the central bank, rather a collaborative effort between the central bank, banknote suppliers, and deposit money banks.
He said: “Others include manufacturers of currency management equipment, currency transportation and processing companies, security agencies, and the general public.”
He also commended the existing collaboration between the CBN and the stakeholders in the currency management value chain, and stressed that should be deepened and strengthened for the overall good of the industry.
According to him, currency management is vital to everyone’s daily lives because despite the improvements in electronic payments system, banknotes remain predominant for payment and settlement of commercial transactions in Nigeria.
Emefiele said effective use of those documents by relevant stakeholders would ensure that banknotes in circulation were clean and of high quality.
He also said those were the characteristics that were key to sustaining public confidence in the national currency.
The CBN chief urged Nigerians to handle the Naira banknotes properly.
Emefiele said: “It is a criminal offence to abuse the Naira. Moreover, the Naira is our identity as a country, so we need to respect it.”
He, however, said the bank would monitor and sanction any commercial bank or financial institution that contravened the provisions of the two policy documents.