Redesign of ₦‎1000, ₦‎500, ₦‎200 banknotes: In whose interest?

Blueprint Whatsapp

President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday, probably acting behind the scheduled date, launched the newly introduced Naira banknotes.

The event happened shortly before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting. Launching the new banknotes, the President, who expressed delight with the developments, said the redesigned currencies are locally produced by the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) Plc, which is an arm of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

The President used the occasion to state the basis for the approval he gave to the Central Bank of Nigeria to redesign the ₦‎200, ₦‎500 and ₦‎1000 banknotes.
He said “the new Naira banknotes have been fortified with security features that make them difficult to counterfeit.’’
According to him, the new banknotes would help the Central Bank of Nigeria to design and implement better monetary policy objectives, especially as they relate to Nigeria’s socio-economic pressures that are driven by national volatility, stagflation and national uncertainties.

Of course, to achieve those objectives, it requires all hands to be on deck to address the most critical challenges that would enable the country to exceed its expectations with the fiscal and monetary authorities leading the campaign.
On the monetary side, the Central Bank of Nigeria is taking appropriate steps to make moderate and incremental progress in promoting the value of the Naira, deepening financial inclusion and discouraging illegal hoarding of the Naira by individuals.

In the eyes of many, the Central Bank of Nigeria seems to have demonstrated enough professionalism in defending the Naira and, by extension, salvaging the Nigerian economy, especially, through its recent policy to redesign higher denominations of the Naira, a move that has been widely commended by economic and financial experts.

Implications of the decision have become a front burner in economic policy discourse in Nigeria. The decision was prompted by the persistent large-scale hoarding of the Naira which has resulted in a worrisome situation where over 80 per cent of the currency in circulation is outside the banking system.

Other concerns that motivated the decision include the high cost of currency management, increasing the risk of Naira counterfeiting and long periods of denominations’ existence without redesign, among others. The plan is expected to yield numerous benefits including the adoption of electronic channels of transactions, reduction in currency management costs and discourage counterfeiting and other criminal activities.

Thus, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, rightly said that one of the reasons the apex bank is redesigning the banknotes is based on the fact that currency management has faced several daunting challenges that have continued to grow in scale and sophistication with the attendant and unintended consequences for the integrity of both the apex bank and the country.
The challenges include significant hoarding of banknotes by members of the public, with statistics showing that over 80 per cent of the currency in circulation is outside the vaults of CBN and commercial banks, worsening shortage of clean and fit banknotes, increased risk to financial stability and increasing ease and risk of counterfeiting evidenced by several security reports.

More than N2.73 trillion, out of the N3.23 trillion currency in circulation, is outside the banking sector. That development, the CBN Governor said, is unacceptable. With the new development, the Central Bank of Nigeria aims to take control of the money supply by mopping up all cash from the economy, both within the vaults of banks and in the hands of citizens.

Naturally, not a few people and organisations have commended the Central Bank of Nigeria for taking a step that is seen to not only give the bank some marginal integrity but to help in addressing the fundamental issue of inglorious election funding that has proved to be detrimental to the national economy.
For many, the measure will yield numerous benefits including helping to address the risk of Naira counterfeiting and long periods of denominations’ existence without redesign, among others.

Thus, the President commended the. BN Governor and his deputies for their initiatives while also thanking the Managing Director, executive directors and staff of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company “for working tirelessly with the apex bank to make the currency redesign a reality and for printing the new Naira notes within a comparatively short time.”

Acknowledging that international best practice requires central banks and national authorities to issue new or redesigned currency notes every five to eight years, the President expressed regrets that it is now almost 20 years since the last major redesign of the country’s currency was done.

‘‘This implies that the Naira is long overdue to wear a new look,” he said. “A cycle of banknote redesign is generally aimed at achieving specific objectives, including but not limited to: improving the security of banknotes, mitigating counterfeiting, preserving the collective national heritage, controlling currency in circulation and reducing the overall cost of currency management.”

In the end, everything about the issue is taken into consideration, it can be said that the move made by the Central Bank of Nigeria is another way to withdraw currency from circulation and tighten the supply of money since the country is battling high inflation.

While there is scepticism about the possibility of the new Naira banknotes policy achieving the desired objectives, particularly in the area of inflation because of other existential issues like insecurity and other fiscal pressures, the policy can still,m be said to be a good step to address the issue of national security and rejuvenate the economy.

78 garlands for Professor Ibrahim Gambari

President Muhammadu Buhari has felicitated with his Chief of Staff, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, as he clocked 78 years of age. The President prayed for the well-being of Gambari and his family
Ibrahim Agboola Gambari was born on November 24, 1944, in Ilorin, Kwara State.

He attended King’s College, Lagos. He subsequently attended the London School of Economics where he obtained his B. Sc. (Economics) degree in 1968 with a specialisation in International Relations.

He later obtained his Master’s degree in 1970 and a PhD in 1974 from Columbia University, New York, USA, in Political Science and International Relations, respectively.

Professor Ibrahim Gambari began his teaching career in 1969 at the City University of New York before working at the University of Albany. Later, he taught at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, in Kaduna State. From 1986 to 1989, he was a visiting professor at three universities in Washington namely Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Georgetown University and Howard University.

He has written so many books and published in reputable journals on foreign policy and international relations and served as the Minister for External Affairs between 1984 and 1985 under then General Muhammadu Buhari’s military regime.

He also served as the Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA). From 1990 to 1999, he served as Nigeria’s Ambassador to the United Nations.

Gambari has held several positions in the United Nations. In 1999, he was the president of UNICEF and later became UN Under-Secretary-General and the first special adviser on Africa to the UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan from 1999 to 2005.

He is the Founder and chairman of the Savannah Centre, co-chair of the Albright-Gambari Commission and a member of the Johns Hopkins University’s Society of Scholars. He was decorated with the title of Commander of the Federal Republic (CFR) by the federal government.
Therefore, on the occasion of his 78th birthday, President Muhammadu Buhari rejoiced with the man whose congeniality, brilliance and rectitude continue to light his path as a scholar, publisher, international diplomat and technocrat, with records of distinguished service in Nigeria and the United Nations.

However, the significance of this day and occasion is beyond just Gambari’s birthday. It is a celebration of someone that is loved and greatly admired in Nigeria and beyond.

The occasion represents a unique celebration of a truly great man whose courage, experience and wisdom are brought to bear on his present assignment. He stabilises administration within the office of the President and the administration.

Of course, it is with little or no wonder, that in view of his significance to the administration that the President praised Gambari’s exemplary dedication to the growth of Nigeria and the many sacrifices he has made for the benefit of Nigerians and people of the African continent at large.

And, as Gambari celebrates turning 78, the people, like the President, hope and pray that all his wishes come true!