By Jethro Ibileke
Authorities of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Benin Branch, on Thursday monitored operators of Point of Sales (POS) in Benin City Edo State.
Officials of Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) and members of the Edo State Civil Society Organisations (EDOSO), also joined the monitoring exercise.
The visited POS operators around the popular Oba Market, Ring Road and the environs, where the operators paid a maximum of ₦5000 to the customers, with ₦100 charged for the withdrawal.
Traders who benefited from the effortless withdrawal commended CBN for the initiative, saying the exercise would ease their stress of queuing for long hours at the Banks.
They however appealed for optimization of the money from N5,000 to N20,000 at least so as to enable them meet other challenges.
Leader of the market women at Ekiosa, Mrs Janet Ogiamien Iyase, thanked the CBN for coming to their rescue through this initiative.
She said they have earlier cried to the state government who invited them to a stakeholders meeting with the leadership of the various banks in the state.
Mrs Iyase said they were almost losing it, noting that they can neither buy nor sell because there was no money.
“I pray that God should bless the CBN for coming up with this method of cushioning our pains.
“We have really suffered in the past few days but today, I am happy because the money I should have gone to withdraw from the bank, I can now withdraw from you right away”, Iyase said.
Another woman, Mrs. Eghosa Ogiamien Obayagbona who made a withdrawal of N5000 after paying the sum N100 as charges, described the process as seamless.
She added that she had earlier gone to the bank to withdraw money but after wasting much time, she was told that there was no money.
Speaking to journalists during the exercise, the Director, Risk Management Department of CBN, Dr. Blaise Ijebor, said the exercise was to avail the people who have paid into their bank accounts the old naira notes to withdraw their money for their transaction.
Dr. Ijebor added that it was also aimed at reducing the long queues in the banks.
“We are at Oba Market and we want to help in reducing queues in banks.
“So, we are coming to the markets to allow people who had paid in their old naira notes into the banks to be able to withdraw N5000 at the normal charge of N100 so that we can serve the people and reduce the queues and tension at the banks.
“A lot of people are complaining that they cannot withdraw the money they paid into the banks, now we are giving them the opportunity right here in the market to collect money so that they can continue to transact.
“This is an opportunity for people to get their money and for business to continue to thrive in Edo state,” he said
The CBN chief disclosed that the exercise will be carried out several days to reduce the queue in the bank.