The Central Bank of Nigeria ( CBN ) has commenced the disbursement of smaller naira denomination notes to traders across the country to improve circulation of N5, N10, N20, and N50 notes in the markets.
The pilot exercise was held in Abuja yesterday and the acting Director, Currency Operations Department, CBN Mrs Priscilia Eleje said the campaign was targeted at the informal sector, especially traders in markets with the aim of increasing the circulation of the smaller units of the naira to make doing business easier.
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 to ensure that traders desist from hiking prices of goods, simply to avoid looking for “change.’’
According to her, 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” she told the traders.
She added that “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.
Eleje said that the money was not free, as the CBN through the various associations in the market would exchange lower denominations for larger ones.
Also, the Deputy Director, Currency Operations Department, CBN Mr Vincent Wuranti, lectured the traders on ways to handle naira notes and detect fake Naira notes by 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 allow it to have a longer life span.
The Chairman, Wuse Market Association, Mr Rapheal Okorie, said insufficient lower denominations of the naira was one of the greatest problems being faced by 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.
Okorie said the CBN has agreed to make the funds available to traders on a weekly basis depending on the volume and market demand.