By Tunde Osho
The Central Bank of Nigeria has commenced the disbursement of smaller naira notes to traders in order to improve the circulation of N5, N10, N20, and N50 in the economy.
The acting Director, Currency Operations Department, Mrs. Priscilia Eleje, said this at a publicity campaign on “Disbursement of Lower Denominations of the Naira” in Wuse Market, Abuja on Tuesday.
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.
Eleje said the new strategy would ensure that traders desist from hiking prices of goods just to avoid looking for “change.”
The CBN chief said the 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.
“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 the money was not free, adding that rather, the CBN through the various associations in the market would exchange lower denominations for larger ones.
Also, the Deputy Director, Currency Operations Department, Mr. Vincent Wuranti, lectured the traders on ways to handle and maintain the naira notes.
He urged all users to desist from squeezing the notes, writing on them or handling the notes with soiled hands.
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 of Wuse Market Association, Mr. Rapheal Okoro, said insufficient lower denominations of the naira were 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.
Okoro said the CBN had agreed to make the notes available to traders on a weekly basis, saying the volume depends on the market demand.