The organisation accused the bankers’ bank of inflicting serious economic pain on over 80 million citizens who patronise 916 microfinance banks in the country.
A rights organisation, the Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN); has decried the lackluster of the leadership of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the implementation of the new currency policy (Cashless Policy).
The organisation accused the bankers’ bank of inflicting serious economic pain on over 80 million citizens who patronise 916 microfinance banks in the country and have no account in commercial banks in the distribution of banknotes.
CRRAN in statement issued on Monday, by its President, Olu Omotayo, said that it was ridiculous, lack of focus and misdirection that the apex bank would totally neglect microfinance banks that had N1.35tn of Account Assets as at September 2021 and concentrate more on Point of Sale (POS) operators who are now milking Nigerians.
Titled: "Currency Redesign: Failure of Central Bank of Nigeria to supply redesigned notes to 916 Microfinance Banks in Nigeria in order to enhance circulation of the new notes, shows failure and unpreparedness on the bank of the apex bank," the organisation appealed to CBN to take urgent steps to redress the anomaly.
The statement partly read, "As of February 3, 2023, when this survey and interviews were completed, Nigerians who operate bank accounts in various microfinance banks in the country were complaining that they could not access their funds and the only thing the management of Microfinance banks was doing is to be helping some of their customers who also have bank accounts in commercial banks to transfer their funds to their respective accounts in the commercial bank, while those who don’t have account in commercial banks are in a sorry state now.
"Our investigations and interactions revealed that most traders, artisans, civil servants and other low income earners operate bank accounts with the Microfinance banks because of their accessibility and proximity to the people.
"Unfortunately, it is disheartening and shows recklessness on the part of the apex bank not to give any role to the over 916, Microfinance banks in Nigeria, in order to ease the sufferings of the masses."
It added, "Information available on the CBN website as at 14 March 2022, shows that there are about 916 licensed microfinance banks in Nigeria. These banks provide essential financial services (such as savings, lending, domestic fund transfers, etc.) to low-income earners, the unbanked and under-served groups like market women and unemployed youths.
"Also according to a report by the Central Bank of Nigeria on ‘Microfinance Banks’ Account Assets’ quarterly bulletin, the total assets of Nigeria’s microfinance banks increased to N1.35tn by the end of September 2021, from N856.3bn recorded in September 2020.
"So it is surprising that such an important institution in banking industry in Nigeria could be cut off from the system at this critical period thereby inflicting serious economic pain on over 80 million citizens who patronise microfinance banks in the country.
"We urge the Central Bank of Nigeria to immediately take urgent steps to redress this anomaly. It is submitted that it is lack of focus and misdirection on the part of the apex bank to totally neglect microfinance banks and concentrate more on POS operators."