Nigerians hoping for a shift from the January 31, 2023 deadline to phase out old N200, N500 and N1000 notes have been advised by the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mr.Godwin Emefiele, to perish the thought. Emefiele, who spoke for the first time on the irrevocabilty of old currency notes’ deadline yesterday at the Monetary Policy Committe (MPC) session, insisted that there was no going back on the January 31 deadline. Also yesterday, the MPC at its maiden meeting in 2023 approved a hike in the lending benchmark rate to 17.5 per cent around asymmetric corridor around MPR at -100/+70 from 16.5 per cent, while Cash Reserves Requirement (CRR) and liquidity ratio were retained at 32.5 per cent and 30 per cent respectively. This was as Emefiele also debunked the Stamp Duty collection allegation, which inferred that N89 trillion was collected. He said between 2016 and 2022, the total sum collected as stamp duty was
N378.686 billion. “CBN will not join in heating the system. We wrote to banks to give us in their letter headed papers and sign it how much they have collected from stamp duty from 2016 to date. “Total assets of all banks are N71 trillion; total deposit in banks is N44.49 trillion. From 2016 till date, stamp duty collection has amounted to N378,686 billion.
“The Federal Inland Revenue Service has disbursed N226.451 billion of the money to the Federation Account Allocation Committee, while the balance of N144, 235 billion is in the CBN. “The highest collection of the stamp duty is N71 billion, collected by First Bank,” he said. He added that CBN had appointed four leading audit firms (KPMG, PWC, Deloitte and one other) to go into the books of banks to verify if there was any unremitted stamp duty.
“If there is any uncollected stamp duty, the banks will pay tothelastkobo,” Emefielesaid. A member of the House of Representatives, Muhammed Kazaure, hadraisedthealarm in 2022 that the sum of N89 trillion collected as stamp duty had been stolen. On deadline extension for circulation of old currency notes beyond January 31, 2023, Emefiele said it was a dashed hope. He said: “For those hoping on extension, I will say that, unfortunately, I don’t have good news for you. For those who feel that we should shift the deadline, my apologies.
“The reason is just like the President had said 100 days is enough for anybody who has money or the old currency to deposit the money in the banks. “We took every measure to ensure that all the banks were open to receive old poor old currencies. 100 days we believe is more than adequate. “We called on banks, we said we are only requesting you to extend your banking hours, we asked them to keep their doors open on Saturdays.
“We do not see any reason to begin to talk about a shift because people could not deposit their own monies into their banks.” Emefiele said when CBN discovered lending banks were given priority attention to their prime customer in supply of new notes over the counter, he directed the banks to begin loading of new notes via ATMs. He said ATM was a robot everybody could use. Asked what was the level of currency outside of banks’ vault, Emefiele said the bank had taken in close to N2 trillion and expressed optimism it would be better in a week ahead. Emefiele explained that, for instance, currency in circulation grew just in seven years from N1.4 trillion to N3.23 trillion between 2015 and 2022. He said the apex bank believed that there was no reason the currency in circulation would have grown this much if it is not being kept outside the banking system. According to him, “in 2022, currency in circulation had grown to N3.2 3 trillion more than double as about N1.7 trillion was left in the vaults of bank by the end of the year. “This has made the efficacy of monetary policy so difficult because what you would have expected is that when currency is issued, it will circulate.