The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has blamed commercial banks for sabotaging its efforts in replacing mutilated notes with new ones in the country.
Mr Isaac Okorafor, Acting Director, Communications Department of the CBN, made the allegation in Lagos on Thursday in an interview.
Okoroafor was reacting to lamentation from Nigerians on the high level of mutilated notes in the country.
The CBN spokesperson said that the apex bank was aware of the development and had taken several measures to addressing the rising incidence of mutilated notes in the country.
According to him, one of the steps taken by the CBN in mopping up the mutilated notes from the system was reduction in the amount it charges banks for sorting the dirty notes for clean ones from N12,000 to N1,000 per box.
Okorafor said that the reduction in charges for the commercial banks which lasted for three months from Jan. 2 to March 28 was to encourage them to bring back more dirty notes to CBN.
He said the sorting charges which used to be N12,000 was later raised to N2,000 per box after the March 28 deadline when the window was closed.
The director said the opportunity was limited to lower denomination naira notes comprising N50, N20 and N10 notes.
A cross section of Nigerians have expressed disgust over the mutilated notes in circulation, mainly smaller denomination comprising of N5, N10, N20, N50 and N100 notes.
He hinted that the bank had adopted another option of withdrawing the unfit notes from circulations rather than depending mainly on the commercial banks on the task.
Okorafor said that the bank had started engaging associations in various markets to encourage traders to change genuine dirty notes for new ones.
This, he added, would not attract any cost to traders.
“The bank has already taken the new measure to Kano, Kaduna and Abuja and also intends to bring it to the south,” he said.
On hoarding and selling of new currency notes, Okorafor said the serial numbers of the ones given out to the public would be used to trace whoever perpetuated the act.
He however, appealed to Nigerians to handle the national currency with care as it was a symbol of identity and value and should be handled with respect.
Okorafor urged the public to always demand for new notes instead of collecting dirty notes from banks.