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Banks deny hoarding new naira notes as ICPC, EFCC others visit strong rooms



Nigerian banks have come out to deny hoarding the new naira notes amid strings of visits by security agencies to banks across the country.

The Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) among others in the last one week visited banks to investigate the distribution of the new naira notes allocated from the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Arrests and videos of hidden naira notes in banks’ strong rooms and also Automatic Teller Machines (ATM) not properly set up to dispense the new notes have been made public by the agencies.

In reaction, Association of Corporate Affairs Managers of Banks (ACAMB) expressed sympathy with the Nigerian public on the unintended hardships being faced in the process of the ongoing rollout of re-designed naira notes and enhanced cashless policy.

The statement signed by Rasheed Bolarinwa, president, of ACAMB however was unequivocal in defending that banks are not hiding the new naira notes.

The statement said: “There is no doubt that the unintended constraints in the withdrawal of old naira notes and circulation of new naira notes, alongside the national policy to enhance cashless transactions, have had unintended effects on the generality of the Nigerian populace.”

“ACAMB affirms that without any equivocation banks are not in any way hoarding or holding back naira notes or engaging in any act inimical to our avowed commitment to exciting customer experience. ATMs are being loaded every day and cash is being paid as provided by the CBN, as regularly being checked by CBN inspectors and other regulators including anti-graft agencies.”

READ ALSO:Gov Zulum threatens to revoke banks’ land over new naira notes

In the past few hours, the statement said banks have taken additional measures to quicken the flow of naira notes. These measures, among others, include the deployment of extra technical supports for online payments, additional security at ATMs to ensure all-clock usage, technological back-up to reduce online downtime to the barest minimum, additional staff deployment to counters to attend to cash transactions and timely interbank and inter-branch networking to bridge any gap.

“We are confident that these measures, in addition to efforts by the regulatory CBN, will result in greater ease of access and cash liquidity. The Federal Government and the CBN have reiterated similar readiness to address any constraint in the cyclical flow, including making adjustments, where necessary.

“ACAMB urges the Nigerian banking public to exercise patience and not to resort to any untoward behavior against Bank staff or banking facilities,” the statement said.

Also, the Association of Senior Staff of Banks and other Financial Institutions (ASSBIFI), at the weekend, condemned attacks on banks and staff as a result of the naira scarcity.

ASSBIFI, in a statement by Olusoji Oluwole, its president, also said that bank staff were not saboteurs as insinuated by the public.

According to the statement, Nigerian banks are currently working with the CBN to ensure that customers have access to cash through ATMs and other channels as well as Over-The-Counter (OTC) in the banking halls.

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