Nigeria to introduce smaller denomination currency in December

Mr Tunde Lemo, Deputy Governor, Operations, CBN12 October 2013, Washington DC – The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, on Friday said that the new smaller denomination notes that will come in paper form would be in circulation before December .

Mr Tunde Lemo, Deputy Governor, Operations, said this while briefing newsmen on the sideline of the ongoing Annual meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

The smaller notes are N5, N10, N20 and N50 notes.

“The smaller denomination notes are being supplied by the printers and before December, you will no longer see tattered notes all over.

“As I said, I have apologised to Nigerians that the reason we had old notes that are still in circulation was because of the issues around Project Cure.

“We had earlier thought last year that we will transmit to a better note family which we code-named Project Cure.

“But because of the issues around N5,000 notes and the resentments of changing the N5, N10 and N20 to coins, we had to go back to the drawing board and that was what has caused the delay.”

According to him, the new smaller denominations will be in paper form with their features.

“They will be on paper since we didn’t succeed in convincing Nigerians that those smaller denominations should be in coins.

“But there will be a time in the future when we will all understand why they have to be coined.

“But now, we are back to status quo ante; that is they will reappear in the old form that they were except that they are going to be in paper not polymer.”

Lemo said that since 2009 the spending on printing of currency had been on the decline.

He attributed that to the efficiency in distribution of the currency and printing of more of the higher denomination notes.

“We used to spend N13 printing N1000 notes, if we had succeeded in printing N5,000 notes, we would have spent only N18; that meant that would have also reduced the cost of printing.

“That was the message we were trying to transmit to Nigerians,” he added

On the difference in the cost of printing in polymer and paper, he said that it was cheaper printing in polymer.

“We would have spent less printing polymer because polymer substrate lasts four times longer than paper and it costs only 150 per cent more.

“Unfortunately, whereas the substrate lasts four times longer, the ink fades pretty faster and so what’s the use of the substrate whose ink has faded and that was partly why we disengaged from polymer.’”

On the cashless policy, he said that there had been improvement in the use of electronic channels for money transactions in the country.

“As at the close of business today, we had over 35,000 point of sale transactions valued more than N540 million; we had Nigerian Electronic Fund transfer of more than 131,000 valued at N59 billion.

“We had NIPS instant payment of more than 86,000 valued at N58.4 billion.

“When you sum all of these together, they are three times more than the volume of cheques; that we had today recorded was a little over 69 thousand totalling N33 billion.”

He said that N11 billion transactions were made through mobile payment last month, adding that more activity had been going on through the electronic channel unlike before.

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