Scarcity of new Naira notes hits CBN’s cash swap with banks, First Bank reject PoS agents’ request

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s cash swap programme with the Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) has suffered a setback due to scarcity of the new Naira notes.

The CBN had announced its intention to partner with some commercial banks, Super Agents, Mobile Money Operators and Point of Sale (PoS) merchants to increase circulation of the new Naira notes.

The apex bank said the PoS operators would receive the new banknotes from their designated commercial banks in exchange for the old naira notes from residents in areas outside Lagos and Abuja.

According to CBN, five out of 11 commercial banks operating in Nigeria were selected to provide the redesigned naira notes to PoS operators for the cash swap programme.

These are – United Bank for Africa (UBA), Zenith Bank, First City Monument Bank (FCMB), First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Holdings, and Access Bank Plc.

However, Ripples Nigeria gathered that three of the selected banks in one of the approved states, Ogun, do not have new banknotes for pick up by PoS operators even after they were informed that the CBN selected their banks for the cash swap programme.

When our correspondent visited three of the selected banks located along Ajuwon-Akute road, Ogun State, on Friday, Zenith Bank and Access Bank workers said they have no new currencies to partake in the CBN cash swap programme.

They asked those interested in withdrawing the new banknotes to use the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).

However, the customers discovered that the ATMs were not loaded with cash after several attempts.

Zenith Bank refused entry to customers seeking new naira notes, stating that only persons that want to deposit old naira banknotes and other banking services are allowed into the bank.

However, UBA said the new Naira notes were available.

But the PoS operators granted accesses are merchants whose names had been submitted by the CBN.

The bank’s ATM was also dispensing the new banknotes.

Also, the First Bank operating in the same axis turned back several PoS operators, informing them that there are no new naira notes on ground.

One of the agents said she tried to go collect new naira notes, but they offered old notes.

In a chat with Ripples Nigeria, the CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, Osita Nwanisobi, said: “The banks have the number of agents they are working with.”

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