The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said the cash swap programme for the unbanked population in the rural areas has ended.
The Acting spokesperson for the apex bank, Mr Isa Abdulmumin, said the initiative was to exchange the old N1000, N500, N200 notes for the newly redesigned notes while the existing lower denominations of N100, N50 and N20 remain legal tender.
“The programme has stopped. The cash swap was not in perpetuity and has a lifeline,” he said.
Persecondnews reported that the apex bank cash swap programme took effect from January 23, 2023.
On the cash swap programme, the bank had said: “The agent shall exchange a maximum of N10,000 per person. Amounts above N10,000 may be treated as cash-in deposit into wallets or bank accounts in line with the cashless policy. BVN, NIN, or Voter’s card details of the customers should be captured as much as possible.
“To promote financial inclusion, this service is also available to anybody without a bank account .Agents may, on request, instantly open a wallet or account, leveraging the CBN Tiered KYC Framework.
This will ensure that this category of the populace are able to exchange or deposit their cash seamlessly without taking unnecessary risk or incurring undue cost.”
However, bank agents in Nigeria have described the programme as ineffective while participation by stakeholders has been minimal.
The Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agent in Nigeria (AMMBAN), in its assessment, said if the programme was effective the crises which erupted across the country would have been averted.
The National Publicity Officer of AMMBAN, Mr Oluwasegun Elegbade, said the monitoring mechanism set up by the CBN was poor.
“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.
“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,” he said.