In response to the public outcry over the scarcity of lower Naira denominations in the country, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disbursed more than N1.9 billion various lower denomination banknotes to over 20 different merchants, supermarkets, toll gates, big eateries and other cash users.
The apex bank who confirmed this development to newsmen in a release in Lagos also disclosed that efforts were being made to penetrate the various markets in Lagos.
The move is to curtail the scarcity of lower Naira denominations as a result of hoarding and sale by unscrupulous people, the bank said.
The Acting Director, Currency Operations Department, Mrs. Precillia Eleje, had at a public sensitisation and enlightenment campaign on CBN direct intervention on lower denominations in Kurmi Market, Kano, recently expressed disgust at the activities of middle men who hoard, sell and buy such currencies at the detriment of the public.
Eleje said: “The CBN has observed inadequacy in the circulation of lower denominations bank notes and difficulties encountered by economic agents such as marketers, merchants, shopping malls, super markets among others, despite the huge volume of bank notes injected into circulation on annual basis.
“In this regard, we are currently engaging with the market associations through their central leadership and disbursement will commence in the markets the moment we conclude the logistics with the market leadership.”
The Beneficiaries of the initial disbursement include: Ashanti abattoir, Healthplus pharmacy and Merchants like Spar group (Park n Shop) Shoprite, Prince Ebeano, Hubmart stores, Grandsquare, Supersaver, Bazaaar supermarts, Adiba supermarket,Justrite stores, Shopperrfect.
Others are Tollgates like Lekki Concession, I-Cube. Eateries were not left out like Tastee Fried Chicken, Mega Chicken, The Place.
The lifespan of the paper banknotes is about 12 to 18 months while the polymer banknotes last about 24 to 36 months in circulation depending on handling.