President Muhammadu Buhari launched the new Naira banknotes in Abuja on Wednesday, expressing delight that they are locally produced by NSPM PLC.
At the launch of the new banknotes, which preceded the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting, the President explained his approval to redesign the 200, 500, and 1000 banknotes.
According to the President, the new Naira banknotes are hard to counterfeit.
He added that the new banknotes would help the Central Bank design and implement better monetary policy objectives and enrich Nigeria’s heritage.
President Buhari praised CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele and his Deputies for the initiative and thanked the Managing Director, Executive Directors, and Staff of Nigerian Security Printing and Minting PLC “for working tirelessly with the apex bank to make the currency redesign a reality and for printing the new Naira notes in a relatively short time.”
International best practice requires central banks and national authorities to issue new or redesigned currency notes every 5 to 8 years, but the last major redesign of the country’s local currency was almost 20 years ago.
“This means the Naira needs a makeover.
A banknote redesign cycle aims to improve security, reduce counterfeiting, preserve national heritage, control currency in circulation, and reduce currency management costs.
The Central Bank of Nigeria Act of 2007 gives the CBN the power to issue and redesign the Naira.
The Central Bank Governor asked for my permission to redesign the currency earlier this year. I weighed the Central Bank’s facts and arguments.
‘‘It was urgent to take control of currency in circulation and address the hoarding of Naira banknotes outside the banking system, the shortage of clean and fit banknotes, and the increase in counterfeiting of high-denomination Naira banknotes. So I approved the redesign of the 200, 500, and 1000 banknotes.
Nigeria is one of only four African countries that print their own currency. Most African countries print their currencies abroad and import them like goods.
“That’s why I’m so proud to announce that our Security Printing and Minting PLC produces these redesigned currencies in Nigeria,” he said.
Godwin Emefiele, governor of the CBN, thanked the president for his support of the redesign and distribution of the new notes, which he said will control inflation, make policies more effective, ensure financial inclusion, and fight corruption.
The CBN Governor also noted that by international best practice, notes should be redesigned every five to eight years, and the currency in circulation had been in use for 19 years, posing spiraling security and counterfeiting challenges to the economy.
Emefiele praised President Buhari for insisting that the initial notes be designed and produced in the country, placing trust in Nigerian Security Printing and Minting.
“Only a President of your stature and incorruptibility could have done this,” he said.
The CBN Governor cited increased security, durability, attractiveness, and promotion of rich cultural heritage as benefits of the redesigned naira notes.