The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, said residents in rural areas have no excuse for not depositing old naira notes before the phase-out deadline of January 31, 2023.
There were unconfirmed reports that herdsmen and their leaders had made representations to the apex bank to allow more time for their members , who are in the bushes, to come out with their old naira notes for replacement. It is believed that Emefiele’s latest statement on CBN’s syndication of agency banking network with commercial banks in this regard is to address this and related concerns.
Emefiele said the financial regulator and other commercial banks have deployed agency banking across the country and extended workdays to ensure people have places to deposit their money and withdraw the redesigned naira.
According to the CBN governor, there are 1.4 million agency banking network that will attend to both urban and rural areas, “In 2020, the Central Bank of Nigeria or banking industries agency license network was only at 86,000.
“As of October, 2022, our agency banking network has increased to 1.4 million all over Nigeria in almost all the local governments in Nigeria, I therefore cannot see any reason why anybody would say that he needs an extension because he can’t deposit his money in the bank, even if you’re in a rural area.
“And the agency networks is like saying that we have 1.4 currency points all over the country, then how can anybody come and say that he wants to shift the deadline because there are people in the rural areas that cannot deposit cash? That is a lie. They know what they have in mind and we will not go with them on that journey.
“Our journey is that on January 31, 2023, all the old currencies will lose their legal tender status and we’ll begin to use the new currencies. We’re doing our work in line with the law that establishes us and we will continue to do so,” Emefiele said.
He had tackled persons calling for an extension to the deadline to phase out the current naira, “When people say there are people in rural areas who cannot pay cash, they just are begging the question, they don’t know what they are saying.
“They have other motives, [and] it is not because they are sympathetic to the cause of the ordinary weak people in our rural area.”