An economic expert, Prof. Uche Uwaleke, has called on the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to remove old and dirty notes from circulation. Uwaleke, an Associate Professor of Banking at the Nasarawa State University, said such notes were causing constant malfunctioning of Automated Teller Machines (ATMs), especially during pressure periods. He said this in an interview on Sunday in Abuja.
NAN had reported in a national survey on challenges faced by bank customers in cash withdrawal at festive periods, that hundreds of Nigerians complained of machine failure, slowness and long queues. These happened at a time when people were eager to withdraw their savings to celebrate, many of them left frustrated due to the challenges. Many of the banks in some states do not have enough ATM machines to cater to the needs of the people and the ones available break down when they are put on constant use. To proffer solution to these, Uwaleke urged the CBN to ensure that banks did not use worn-out notes in the ATMs.
“Abroad, the ATMs are used to dispense new ‘mint’ notes, so when you use dirty notes, the machine finds it difficult to recognise it or even dispense it. “The money in the ATM is what these banks get from the CBN and you will agree with me that most notes in circulation today are dirty and old. “As a customer, when you complain about the condition of the bank notes, the banks will just tell you that is what they have. “So CBN should try and ensure that dirty notes are withdrawn from circulation and replaced with new ones, especially during festive periods,” he said.
Uwaleke said also that the banks should be made to provide more ATMs around the country because no matter how good the machines were, they would be ineffective when put under too much pressure. “Banks should be made to provide more ATMs. ATMs are bound to break down when it is put under pressure. It’s just like using your generator 24 hours non-stop. “When more ATMs are made available, they will help to reduce the long queues normally experienced during festive periods and also serve to ease pressure on a particular ATM so that it doesn’t get overworked. “Banks should also make sure that there is staff readily available at any point in time to attend to issues arising from the breakdown of these machines. “I know some banks dedicate workers during these periods and even on weekends but not all of them. Banks should be encouraged to do more,” he said.
Uwaleke also advised the CBN to continue to sensitise the public to cashless policy and use of electronic payment methods. “We must not buy all our things using cash and that is why we have long queues. The idea of using POS should be encouraged. “CBN should continue to enlighten people on the importance of using POS during these period so that even if you are to withdraw cash, it’s just little that you need. “Let the bulk of your purchase be done electronically. If all these are done, we won’t be having much of these complaints again,” he said.