The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele has said that the high charges by Point of Sale (PoS) agents on every transaction would be suspended during this period of Naira scarcity.
At a special media briefing on the new Naira notes in Lagos on Friday, Emefiele urged banks to stop the charges on PoS.
He said: ”I am going to be calling a meeting with the banks this evening or by tomorrow, if those charges go to or those charges have been charged through the bank, we are going to have an arrangement with even telcos to see how those charges can actually at this time be stopped.
”Those charges at this time should be stopped. So, if we know whatever you are making that you’re not making because we stopped it, we can collect it somewhere and look for a way to pay you.
”But we don’t want you to continue to create pain on those who want to use alternative channels when they cannot have cash in their pocket.
”We will go into this later this night or even tomorrow, we’re going to call a meeting of both the banks and the mobile networks; at this time nobody should be charged, if you are charged, we will need to know about it.
”But we would want this service to continue to be offered. Whatever it is in terms of volume and number that you have carried out. We will look for away to pay you your money”.
Acknowledging the protests and arguments surrounding the difficulty citizens were facing in accessing the new notes, Emefiele appealed to Nigerians to show understanding adding that the redesigned notes would circulate and be accessible.
”I understand the agitation and I’m begging in God’s name, we are on our knees begging people to please show understanding. They should be calm.
”In our meetings with the banks, we have told them to set up tents and chairs, give people numbers, which I’m sure some people will say it is old fashioned.
”But at this time that we’re trying to get the currency in circulation amongst everybody, people have to have numbers and they come in under a queueing arrangements that when you come in you get served, if it finishes, just be patient.
”By tomorrow, when you come back, they will start from where they stopped, you will not be cheated.
”Let’s just be calm and adopt a good queueing system, the assurance we give is that it will eventually go round.
”Eventually, the limits will be raised and eventually the limits will be removed and people will be able to conduct their business transactions in a way that it has always been in the past,” Emefiele said.
Last October, Emefiele announced the Naira redesign policy which entails the issuance of new notes to replace the existing N200, N500 and N1,000 series. The new notes came into use on 15 December following the unveiling by President Muhammadu Buhari 22 days earlier in Abuja, while the old notes were to ceased being legal tender by 31 January. The deadline was later extended to 10 February.
Emefiele had said the extension was to allow Nigerians that had Naira legitimately earned and trapped, the opportunity to deposit their money for exchange.
He ordered banks to load their Automated Teller Machines with the new Naira notes to ensure Nigerians had access to them.