Mobile money/Point of Sales agents in Abuja and Lagos have been cut off from the Central Bank of Nigeria’s recently announced cash swap program. The change occurred as the deadline for phase-out of the previous N1,000, N500, and N200 notes on January 31 drew near. Only five banks have been given the go-ahead to participate in the scheme.
The agents are only permitted to use the new notes for the program and not for their normal transactions. Agent may only receive up to N500,000 in brand-new notes each week for the program.
Additionally, each agent is required to keep a record of every transaction they carry out using the new notes and transmit it to the operator (super-agent/MMO/bank).
“There will be severe sanctions such as de-listing as an agent, withholding of any applicable benefit, de-listing from future programmes, negative report to bank & CBN and other such penalties as directed by regulatory authorities,” the document said in reference to what happens if an agent uses the new notes for purposes other than the new naira initiative.
Agents were instructed by Moniepoint in a document to acquire BVN, NIN, or voter’s card information from clients who had paid with new notes. The CBN will keep an eye on how the initiative is being implemented and will offer more advice if it becomes required.
The Association of Mobile Industry’s National President Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria, Mr Victor Olojo, told our correspondent that a proposed meeting with the CBN did not hold. The CBN when announcing the cash swap programme, noted that the initiative was aimed at enabling citizens in rural areas or those with limited access to formal financial services to exchange old naira notes for the redesigned notes.