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New naira notes: We prioritise security over aesthetics – CBN

The Federal Government of Nigeria has presented the newly redesigned naira notes to the general public.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) yesterday indicated that the redesign of the Naira was prioritised in light of the urgent need to combat counterfeits and rescue the country’s sagging economy.

The central bank reported that a sizable portion of the currency in circulation was fake.

It also said that it had taken the initiative to redesign the Naira to rescue the stumbling economy after discovering that more than 85% of banknotes are outside the banking system.

It criticised Nigerians for keeping their cash at home rather than depositing it and listed how the circulation of counterfeit notes hurts the economy, such as by encouraging the growth of the black market and the underground economy and driving up the cost of cash management.

The Director of Currency Operations at the CBN, Ahmed Umar, emphasised that the government did not repaint the banknotes but rather redesigned them to curb counterfeiting and other security challenges during this year’s workshop for finance correspondents in Nigeria, held in Port Harcourt with the theme: boosting depositors’ confidence amidst emerging issues and challenges in the banking industry.

Umar, represented by Amina Giwa, stated that the new banknotes were “redesigned, not repainted,” and were equipped with security mechanisms to deter counterfeiters. Altering the layout allows for new colours and smaller sizes. Ink is a cutting-edge method of adding extra security to documents.

The primary reason for the redesign was to fix a problem, and time was of the essence because otherwise, we would go down with the ship. Not that we’re concerned with appearances or anything.

“Only Nigeria Security does the printing. We print in Nigeria – Lagos, and Abuja. We don’t print outside the country. We fly notes by air and other means to states, which has substantial logistical implications.

“It is highly recommended that you redesign your currency every five to eight years. It is done really to stay ahead of counterfeiters. In the United States, for example, in 2007, the $100 note was issued and redesigned in 2013. In the United Kingdom, the GBP was first issued in 2011 and redesigned in 2016. In South Africa, the R20 was issued in 2009 and redesigned in 2016. In Canada, the $5 and $50 notes were issued in 2006/2004 and redesigned in 2013/2012.

“However, in Nigeria, the N1,000 note has been in circulation for 17 years without redesign; N500 has been in circulation for 21 years without redesign; N200 has been in circulation for 22 years without a redesign; N100 note has been in circulation for eight years without a redesign.

“It is important that the Nigerian public know that no new denominations are being introduced, no charges on deposits, and there is no limit on the amount that can be deposited.”

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