By Ismaila Chafe, Abuja.
Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Godwin Emefiele, says with the introduction of the redesigned naira notes, no individual or organisation will be allowed to withdraw huge cash without interrogation by relevant anti-corruption agencies.
Emefiele stated this when he fielded questions from correspondents on Wednesday in Abuja.
President Muhammadu Buhari earlier on Wednesday inaugurated the new naira banknotes of N200, N500 and N1,000, while expressing delight that the redesigned currencies were locally produced by the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting (NSPM) Plc.
Emefiele said that with the redesign of the naira notes, the CBN would be able to ensure the full implementation of the cashless economic system across the country.
He said: “We will insist that cashless would be nationwide. We will restrict the volume of cash that people can withdraw over the counter.
“If you need to withdraw large volume of cash, you will fill uncountable forms. We will take your data, whether it is your BVN, your NIN, so that enforcement agencies like EFCC or ICPC can follow you and be sure that you are taking that money for good purpose.
“We have to work as a country; Nigeria is the biggest country, both in population and economy, in Africa and we have to ensure that we do things the right way that also positions us as leader in Africa and one of the leading countries in the world.
“We must do things right and I think it would start from today.”
According to the CBN Governor, many countries, especially the advanced ones, have far gone cashless and Nigeria must not be left behind.
He said: “In other countries you will find, say in the U.S., if you want to withdraw 10,000 dollars from the counter, you will be interrogated, you will fill numerous forms, they will even track the use of that 10,000 dollars that you are withdrawing.
“Or you want to withdraw 10,000 pounds from the counter, they will refuse and if you insist, then you will fill forms.
“The problems we have had in the past is that we say this is a cash economy.
“There is no economy that is inbuilt, thinking that it has to be a cash economy.
“The world has moved away from predominantly cash to cashless economy. And I think Nigeria and the Central Bank of Nigeria is prepared at this time to move towards a cashless economy.”
Emefiele also dismissed the insinuations that the redesigned Naira notes was targeted at some individuals, including politicians.
“There is no need for anybody to think that this programme is targeted at anyone.
“Like you heard the President speak in the chambers; he said that the discussions to redesign and reissue our currency started earlier in the year.
“We took painstaking efforts in looking at the pros and cons, and the reasons when and why it should be done.
“And the President, in his wisdom, decided that yes, it must be done,” he added.