President Muhammadu Buhari has said that he approved the redesigning of the nation’s currency because of the urgent need to take control of currency in circulation; address the hoarding of naira banknotes outside the banking system, and checkmate the increase in counterfeiting of high denomination banknotes. Buhari made this disclosure at the launch of the new N200, N500 and N1000 notes ahead of the commencement of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa yesterday. Expressing delight that the redesigned currencies were locally produced by the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting PLC, the President said: ‘‘The new naira banknotes have been fortified with security features that make them difficult to counterfeit.”
Buhari commended the CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, and his deputies for the initiative even as he also thanked the managing director, executive directors and staff of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting “for working tirelessly with the apex bank to make the currency redesign a reality, and for printing the new naira notes within a comparatively short time.” Noting that international best practice requires central banks and national authorities to issue new or redesigned currency notes every 5 to 8 years, the President said it was 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. ‘‘As is known, our local laws – specifically the Central Bank of Nigeria Act of 2007 – grants 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 in 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.
It is on this basis that I gave my approval for the redesign of the N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes,” he said. CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, who spoke to newsmen after the launch said the apex bank, would enforce the government’s cashless policy. “We have the laws and we will indeed be more intense in ensuring that the provisions of the law and our CBN regulations about the size and volume of currency that people can carry, or hold or withdraw; we will insist that this is done going forward. “If you need to withdraw large volume of cash, you will fill uncountable forms.
We will take your data, whether it is your BVN, your NIN so that enforcement agencies like EFCC or ICPC can follow you and be sure that you are taking that money for good purpose.” Emefiele ruled out the possibility of extending the period of lodgment of old naira notes beyond January 31, 2023.