The Central Bank of Nigeria says residents of rural and unbanked areas can no longer swap old notes for new ones through its cash swap programme.
The CBN Acting Spokesperson, Isa Abdulmumin, disclosed this in a telephone chat with our correspondet, noting that the programme had fulfilled its mandate.
He said, “The programme has stopped. The cash swap was not in perpetuity and has a lifeline.”
However, the Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria had described the programme as ineffective, insisting that participation by stakeholders was minimal.
The CBN had said the cash swap programme was aimed at enabling citizens in rural areas or those with limited access to formal financial services to exchange old naira notes for the redesigned notes.
To promote financial inclusion, the CBN excluded mobile money/Point of Sales agents in Abuja and Lagos, maintaining that the service was available for anybody without a bank account.
It also noted only N10,000 could be released per customer under the cash swap programme.
But in an assessment, AMMBAN National Publicity Officer, Oluwasegun Elegbade, noted that the recent mob attacks on banks would have been averted if the programme fulfilled its purpose.
He said, “The programme has not been really effective as it should. If it worked, we would not have witnessed the number of crises that erupted across the country.
“We expected more participation as far as the swap is concerned. The operators were given control over the whole thing with little monitoring.
“Without monitoring, many of the states just did as they wanted. The CBN only set up a monitoring team in less than five states. Overall, it wasn’t an effective initiative.”