Tuesday, 23 April 2013
CBN On Naira Notes Again: Plans To Change N5, N10, N20 And N50 From Polymer To Paper
Its Deputy Governor, Mr Tunde Lemo, told newsmen on Sunday in Washington on the sideline of the ongoing Spring Meeting of the World Bank and the IMF.
“By the middle of the year, we will start to produce the second generation of lower denomination notes, now in paper not in polymer.’’
“My plea is that Nigerians should exercise patience with us; it wasn’t the fault of the CBN, it was just because we had to go back to the drawing board to rethink `Project Cure’ in the light of the wish of the public that we should not go ahead with the N5000 notes and lower denomination.
“We will correct that in the course of the year. Polymer certainly will be phased out. In fact, we are phasing out polymer. No new note is being printed in polymer now.’
Lemo told NAN that when the CBN was going to introduce the polymer currencies, its search showed that they could last longer than ordinary paper notes.
“However, with the benefit of hindsight, we probably should not have dumped polymer because, yes, the substrate lasts longer, but the in-consubstrate began to fade; we didn’t realise that at the time of introduction.
“ So, part of `Project cure’ actually was actually to move away from polymer substrate to paper, unfortunately we had a push-back because of the issues around N5000 note and coins.
“The entire program was put in abeyance, otherwise by now we should have stopped producing polymer.’’
He said that the CBN had awarded a contract for the printing of the higher denomination notes to a foreign company because of low capacity at the Nigerian Printing and Minting Company.
He said the CBN would begin to receive the fresh notes from June.
On the campaign on the careful handling of the naira, Lemo said that it was unfortunate that the campaign was not successful, but noted that it was a criminal act to abuse the naira going by the CBN Act.
“Unfortunately, CBN is not a law enforcement institution; we left that in the hands of the law enforcement institutions and that has not kicked in.’’
I still go to parties and see people spraying money, stepping on money, I see touts distributing mint-fresh money that should go to customers.’’
Lemo also revealed that the CBN had talked to the police to step up its surveillance to reduce the abuse of the naira adding that the bank had no right to arrest people who sold the naira on the streets.
He said that the act of abuse and sale of the naira by touts had defeated the clean note policy of the bank, but assured that efforts were being made to tackle the problem.