As the January 31 deadline for the phasing out of the old N1,000, N500 and N200 notes approaches, the Central Bank of Nigeria has excluded mobile money/Point of Sales agents in Abuja and Lagos from its newly launched cash swap programme.

This is according to a document, Frequently Asked Questions, given to selected agents on Monday. In the document, the CBN gave some guidelines for the cash swap programme.

According to the document, “Not all agents can participate. This is open to only selected agents profiled by the super agent/MMO/bank and submitted to the Central Bank of Nigeria and participating banks (Access, Zenith, UBA, First, FCMB).”

The document also stated, “Selected agents in all the 36 states (except Lagos and FCT, Abuja). Lagos and Abuja agents are excluded from this.”

The agents are restricted from using the new notes for their regular transactions, only for the programme, according to the Punch newspaper.

On where the agents can get the new notes, the document noted, “from one of these designated banks (Zenith, First Bank, Access, UBA, FCMB). However, you must have a bank account with that bank and your operators (super agent/MMO/bank) will have pre-registered you with the bank where you have an account.

“You must go to the bank you have informed operator (super agent/MMO/bank) of. That is where your agent details will be submitted to for verification when you get there to collect the new notes.”

Also, each agent’s name, BVN number, and operator’s name are required before the new notes will be released, as the bank will also verify the agent’s picture and finger print.

The agent is also expected to have a record of the customer’s Know-Your-Customer information, which includes name, phone number, bank, account number and amount.

It was also noted that why there is no restriction on how much a customer can deposit, only N10,000 can be released per customer under the cash swap programme.

The CBN also urged the agents to open a bank account or wallet for customers with bank accounts, as an agent can only get up to N500,000 new notes weekly for the programme.

Also, each agent is expected to record all transactions performed with the new notes and submit the record to the operator (super agent/MMO/bank).

 
CBN‘s sanction

Regarding what happens if an agent uses the new notes for other purposes other than the new naira initiative, the document noted, “There will be severe sanctions such as de-listing as an agent, withhold of any applicable benefit, de-list from future programmes, negative report to bank and CBN and other such penalties as directed by regulatory authorities.”

According to the Punch newspaper, in a memo by Moniepoint to their agents, agents were asked to collect BVN, NIN, or voter’s card details from customers paid new notes.

The memo read in part, “The Swap should be in the form of PoS withdrawals only of not more than N10,000 per person. Any withdrawal more than N10,000 per person should not be paid with new notes.

“Agents are also permitted to charge cash-out fees for the cash swap transactions but prohibited from charging any further commissions to customers for this service.

“You are to collect BVN, NIN or votes card details from customers paid with new notes for weekly submissions to the CBN.

“The CBN will continue to monitor implementation of the programme and provide further guidance as may be necessary.”