Saturday, 31 December 2016

CBN Fails To Print Lesser NairaDenominations In One Year

The Central Bank of Nigeria has not
printed small naira denominations for
about a year now, causing the scarcity of
the notes in the economy, the News Agency
of Nigeria reports.
Sources at the CBN hinted that for a year
now, the apex bank had not awarded
contracts for the printing of the notes such
as N5, N10, N20 and N50, which was
usually done abroad.
NAN gathered that the recently printed
notes in circulation, N200, N500 and
N1,000, were produced by the Nigerian
Security Printing and Minting Plc.
The NSPM produces currency notes and
coins for the CBN and a wide range of
security documents for the federal, state
and local government establishments,
commercial banks and blue chip
companies.
According to the NSPM website, the
company has the ability to print over 40
million notes weekly.
However, the sources said the high cost of
printing banknotes was the reason the
apex bank did not give out contracts for
their production.
“The cost of printing N50 is almost the
same as N1,000. Printing small
denominations costs more than the value,
and with the present economic situation, it
makes sense to print higher notes, which
can be done locally by the NSPM,” one of
the sources explained.
A worker at First Bank of Nigeria Limited
told NAN that throughout the festive
season, there were hardly smaller currency
notes to give to customers.
The worker, who spoke on the condition of
anonymity, said, “We usually request for
cash from the CBN through our Cash
Management Centre, but recently, we have
not been able to get mints of N100 and
below.
“We had N50 at one point but it wasn’t in
the quantity we are used to getting. We
have been telling our customers who call to
request for mints that the smallest
currencies they can get is N200.”
A political economist, Mr. Jude Ndukwe,
said the implication of the situation was
that prices of goods were likely to increase
since there were no smaller currencies in
circulation.
He said, “A bread seller is likely to increase
the cost of bread from N350 to N400 simply
because he does not want to deal with the
difficult task of getting change.
“The same goes for a bus conductor and so
forth. This act alone is enough to add to
the hardship of the average Nigerians; N10
or N50 may not mean anything to some,
but it means a whole lot to millions of
Nigerians living in poverty. So the
government should do something about
this.”
But the Acting Director, Corporate
Communications, CBN, Mr. Isaac Okorafor,
denied the allegation that the apex bank
had not contracted the printing of smaller
denomination currencies since 2015.
He stated, “There is no scarcity of smaller
denomination notes in the market. People
are complaining because we did not make
provision for mints to be supplied in
smaller denominations during the festive
season.
“You see, people are fond of abusing these
denominations by spraying them to be
stepped on during weddings and other
ceremonies. The abuse is even worse
during the festive season; so, we decided to
make scarce the denominations. But it’s
not that we have not been printing them.
“Yes, we haven’t printed abroad but we
also print locally, which we have been
doing.”
When asked the last time Nigeria actually
had the smaller denominations printed,
Okoroafor promised to get the details.
He reiterated that it was a crime to hawk
or sell mint notes in the country, saying
there was an enforcement committee
comprising the CBN and the security
agencies to check the menace and arrest
culprits.
Okorafor said that the CBN was
collaborating with the police to ensure that
Nigerian currencies were not abused.
Copyright PUNCH.

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