By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has expressed confidence that the new Naira notes unveiled on Wednesday would make policies more effective as they will help to create macroeconomic stability, efficient payments system and confidence.
Two days ago, President Muhammadu Buhari unveiled the redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 banknotes shortly before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja.
Mr Emefiele, while speaking at the short event, thanked the President for his unwavering support for the redesign and distribution of the new notes, which he said would control inflation and also fight corruption.
He commended Mr Buhari for his insistence that the initial notes must be designed and produced within the country, further placing confidence in Nigerian Security Printing and Minting.
“Mr President, only a President of your esteemed and incorruptible stature, could have done what we are witnessing today,” he added.
The CBN Governor also noted that by international best practice, the redesign of notes should be every five to eight years, and the currency in circulation had been in usage for 19 years, with spiralling challenges on the economy, especially on security and counterfeiting.
He listed the benefits of the redesigned naira notes to include enhanced security, greater durability, attractiveness and promotion of rich cultural heritage.
On his part, the President stated that the “new Naira banknotes have been fortified with security features that make them difficult to counterfeit,” adding that the notes will help the central bank design and implement better monetary policy objectives as well as enrich the collective memory of Nigeria’s heritage.
Acknowledging that international best practice requires central banks and national authorities to issue new or redesigned currency notes every 5 to 8 years, the President noted that it is now almost 20 years since the last major redesign of the country’s local currency was done.
“This implies that the Naira is long overdue to wear a new look.
“A cycle of banknote redesign is generally aimed at achieving specific objectives, including but not limited to: improving the security of banknotes, mitigating counterfeiting, preserving the collective national heritage, controlling currency in circulation, and reducing the overall cost of currency management,” he said.
“As is known, our local laws, specifically the Central Bank of Nigeria Act of 2007, grant the Central Bank of Nigeria the power to issue and redesign the Naira.
“In line with this power, the central bank governor approached me earlier this year to seek my permission to embark on a currency redesign project. I considered all the facts and reasons presented before me by the central bank.
“There was an urgent need to take control of currency in circulation and to address the hoarding of Naira banknotes outside the banking system, the shortage of clean and fit banknotes in circulation, and the increase in counterfeiting of high-denomination Naira banknotes. On this basis, I gave my approval for the redesign of the N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes.
“While this may not be apparent to many Nigerians, only 4 out of the 54 African countries print their currencies in their countries, and Nigeria is one. Hence, a majority of African countries print their currencies abroad and import them the way we import other goods.
“That is why it is with immense pride that I announce to you that these redesigned currencies are locally produced right here in Nigeria,” he noted.