Kano residents are in pains as a result of naira scarcity may soon degenerate as commercial banks in the ancient city now operate with zero cash in their vaults.
Worse still, the new and old generations of financial institutions have stopped receiving old naira notes from customers in the last three days despite a government threat to sanction erring outlets that turn down the legal tender.
Chairman, Kano State Public Complaints and Anti-corruption Commission, Barr. Mahmoud Balarabe told journalists at the end of the commission’s enforcement operation Wednesday evening.
Barr. Balarabe disclosed that the Anti-corruption Commission had embarked on enforcement operations to banks, petroleum stations and other outlets following a series of public outcry on the outright rejection of the old naira notes.
Against the raising pressure and mounting accusation on commercial banks over the scarcity of new naira notes in circulation, the Anti-corruption boss declared that the majority of financial institutions are now running with empty vaults after depositing old notes to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Barr. Balarabe said, the commission monitored cash flow across and distribution at about 10 branches of various commercial banks in Kano and uncovered that both the old and new legal tender were not available. He said the bank managers revealed that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) refused to issue new naira notes to them.
” We visited the banks and check the vaults and unfortunately we realized they are operating zero vaults in Kano. Our initial belief is the banks were hiding the naira notes and deliberately refused to distribute them to the public. However, we were proven wrong. CBN has refused to give them money after the banks already made remittance to the CBN”.
Barr. Balarabe however warned supermarkets, filling stations and other business premises to desist from rejecting the old naira notes or risk maximum sanction. He issued a similar threat to POS operators from taking the advantage of the cash scarcity to charge outrageous prices.
Anti-corruption threatened to arrest and prosecute any business outlets who reject the old naira notes and insisted the currency remain a valid legal tender. He said a few people have already been arrested for violation of the directive.
Barr. Balarabe equally disclosed that the commission held a meeting with the leadership of the Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria (IPMAN) against those adjusting their pump and violating the regulated price.