A new legal tender will be introduced in the country early next year by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), it has now been confirmed. It’s a N5,000 bill, which will, among others, have the features of three female Nigerian nationalists: Margaret Expo, Funmilayo Kuti and Gambo Sawaba on it.
According to the CBN Governor, Mallam Lamido Sanusi, who revealed the plan at a briefing in Abuja yesterday, President Goodluck Jonathan had, since last December, given his approval to the plan, which will also involve the redesigning of the existing currency notes and coins.
Under the new structure, Lamido explained, the existing N500, N200, N100, N50 will be redesigned with new security features. The N20, N10, and N5 notes will also be converted to coins.
Sanusi debunked the argument in certain quarters that the new initiative could spur inflation, insisting that countries like Singapore and Germany, which have higher bills of 10,000 have not been weighed down by inflation.
Besides, he stated that the plan was in line with international best practices, which require monetary authorities to review their nations’ currencies at intervals of between five and eight years, to address weaknesses and other challenges.
He explained that the last comprehensive review of the country’s currency was carried out in 2005, which resulted in the introduction of the N20 polymer banknote, followed by the withdrawal of the N50, N10 and N5 banknotes in 2007, which were also converted into polymer banknotes in 2009.
He said the printing of the already designed notes will be bytender and will be advertised to give currency printers, including the Nigerian Printing and Minting Company the opportunity to compete. But he declined to give the anticipated cost implication.
For the new N5,000 note, Sanusi said “we have chosen three Nigerian women involved in the pre-independence struggles. And the back, we have the National Assembly, denoting democracy.
Explaining the background, he said: “As a first step towards this routine exercise, the CBN carried out a review of the existing currency series in 2010. The exercise threw up several revelations and challenges such as the following: Public apathy towards the usage of the 50k, N1 and N2 coins, introduced in February, 2007; the varnished lower denomination banknotes failed to adequately meet expected longevity; and significant difficulties associated with the processing and destruction (briquetting) of the polymer banknotes.”
He continued: “In the light of the observed challenges, the CBN conducted several stakeholders’ fora in 2011 on currency restructuring to gauge public and independent perspectives on the existing banknotes and coin series.
“The issues raised and the subsequent findings and decisions were summarised as follows: due to inflationary pressures, the CBN should coin lower denominations of currency up to N100. The relevant denominations in this category are N5, N10, N20, N50 and N100; the need to encourage the usage of coins; and enhancement of the quality of banknotes.”