By Temitayo Ayetoto
To ease growing scarcity of lower naira denominations particularly among small scale traders, The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has began the disbursement of the notes including N5, N10, N20, and N50 for wider circulation.
Priscilia Eleje, CBN acting Director, currency operations department, disclosed this at a publicity campaign on ‘Disbursement of Lower denominations of the Naira’ in Abuja.
She said the campaign was targeted at the informal sector to ease business transactions by ensuring that traders desist from hiking prices of goods, simply to avoid looking for ‘change’.
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According to her, the Federal Capital Territory will be used as the pilot stage of the new campaign and if successful, will be replicated nationwide.
She said the new naira notes will be distributed to traders within Wuse and Garki Markets and others through their associations.
“The notes we will be disbursing are mints. This money is not meant for you to keep in your house or to go and spray at weddings or sell. We have our operatives everywhere and whoever is caught selling these notes will be prosecuted. These notes are meant to be used for daily transactions so that when a customer comes to the market, you won’t tell him or her that you don’t have change,” she said.
Noting that the money was not free, she said the CBN through the various associations in the market would exchange lower denominations for larger
Meanwhile, Vincent Wuranti, the deputy director, currency operations department, lectured the traders on ways to handle and maintain the naira notes.
He urged all users to desist from squeezing the notes, writing on them or using dirty hands to handle the notes.
Wuranti also urged the public to inculcate the habit of using wallets in
order to safeguard the naira and elongate its life span.
Rapheal Okoro, chairman, Wuse Market Association, said insufficiency of lower denominations was one of the greatest problems facing traders.
“When you buy something you cannot get change. There are instances where customers change their minds about buying items because of change. As a
trader, you lend another trader change and he cannot give you back when you need it. This has led to a lot of crisis in the market. So we are happy that the CBN has come up with this plan,” he said.
Okoro said the CBN had agreed to make the funds available to traders on a weekly basis, depending on market demand.