The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has licenced over 400 money agents to facilitate easy access to the newly redesigned notes by the rural dwellers across the length and breadth of Kogi State.
The bank said that this will enable more people to meet the January 31 deadline for the final withdrawal of the old notes from circulation. The Director, Strategy Management of the apex bank, Clement Buari disclosed this on Saturday at the palace of Elulu of Mopa, Oba Julius Olufunsho Joledo.
He said that people can visit any of the bank or money agents to swap their old notes with the newly redesigned notes, adding that an individual would be entitled to swap N10,000 at a time and at no cost.
“People can also deposit their old notes into their accounts while those without bank accounts would be encouraged to open one at the point of the licensed agents.
“The aim was also to encourage cashless policy as people would also be encouraged to key into the e-payment system of the apex bank. Our focus on the current cash swap exercise is first for the unbanked population in the 13 local govt areas of Kogi State where there are no banking and ATM services,” Buari said.
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He further stated that the agents were being used to mop up the old notes for new and are also expected to facilitate E-wallet account opening for easy access to financial services.
“This advocacy will continue until our people are financially included. The benefits of this policy are enormous as it will support the effective implementation of monetary policy that ensures price and financial system stability,” he said.
An ex- governor of the state, Chief Clarence Olafemi who responded on behalf of the Elulu, however, pleaded with the CBN to consider an extension to the January 31st deadline, particularly for the sake of the rural dwellers whose economy would be affected.
“Our economy in this part of the state is already being affected as our people are no longer opening their shops; those who manage to open are exploiting the masses. I am pleading with you to prevail on the management to consider the rural dwellers for an extension of the deadline since the redesigned policy is not aimed at punishing the people”, he said.
Olafemi who was once Speaker of the Kogi State House of Assembly said, “I know a bit more about the business of lawmaking and the consequences of policies like this.”
He also called for improvement in access to effective communication in rural areas which he said was also one of the reasons why the notes-swapping exercise must be considered.