“The situation is substantially calming down since the commencement of over-the-counter payments to complement ATM disbursements and the use of super-agents. There is, therefore, no need to consider any shift from the deadline of February 10.” the CBN governor said.
This statement is despite the fact that the supreme court of Nigeria last week, extended the deadline for the currency swap until a yet-to-be-decided date. Read the story here.
For context, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria disclosed in November 2022 that some of the country's legal tenders, especially the N100, N200, N500, and N1000 notes, will be redesigned in order, to improve the currency's worth. Read the story here.
Speaking further on the subject, he noted that Point of Sale (POS) operators over-charging Nigerians for cash withdrawals are liable to be punished by law. He mentioned that POS agents who charge above N200 for the CBN cash swap program will be arrested and jailed when caught.
Naturally, POS agents typically charge N100 per for withdrawals, but some have gone as far as charging N300 to N500 for cash withdrawals that would typically cost N100, prior to the cash scarcity that plagued the country these past few weeks.
The CBN governor further added that the POS operators can come to the CBN to be compensated for any extra cost incurred in getting the new notes rather than charging a higher fee to customers.
Furthermore, the Central Bank of Nigeria has threatened to crack down on Point of Sale operators who have converted themselves into payment agents to take advantage of members of the public as the currency redesign policy continues to cause uncertainty across the country.
The central bank labeled such unregistered payment agents as fifth columnists whose actions constituted economic sabotage and said it will conduct sting operations around the country this week to arrest and punish them.
Mr Joseph Omayuku, Director, Governor's Department, CBN, disclosed these while addressing media in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Monday evening, saying the harsh practices were identified following evaluations of policy execution.
“Further reviews have indicated that it does appear as if there are fifth columnists operating in this system, and these fifth columnists, as it appears, are anybody that has PoS access. Several of them have now taken to the unfortunate activity of turning themselves into payment agents,” he stated.
“So you find out that even next to petrol stations, their agents or PoS operators next to them are there who you will go to, to sell money to you and you take that money to go and buy petrol; and not just petrol stations, in short, everywhere. From this week, there will be very sting operations around the country. Because this (selling of naira) is the incentive. The incentive is that they can sell our currency to us, which is not supposed to be. You cannot be selling naira to us,” he added.