Nigeria: CBN Debunks Misleading Report, Says NSPMC Has Capacity to Produce New Banknotes

*Insists it’s working to boost circulation nationwide

Contrary to a misleading report, which misquoted the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, as attributing the current challenge in the distribution of the redesigned naira banknotes to a shortage of printing materials at the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company (NSPMC) Plc, the apex bank has clarified that the printing company has the capacity and enough materials to produce the required indent of the Naira.

The CBN’s position was further reinforced by the Managing Director/Chief Executive of NSPMC, Mr. Ahmed Halilu, who said adequate arrangements had been made to continuously produce the redesigned banknotes and other denominations in line with the CBN indent for 2023.

Halilu, in a statement issued yesterday, also clarified that contrary to mischievous claims, De-La-Rue of the United Kingdom does not produce or supply paper substrate within the currency industry.

The central bank also said it is working assiduously to increase the circulation of the newly redesigned banknotes across the country.

The apex bank has also insisted that the redesign of the naira notes was not targeted at any individual but was done in the overall interest of the country and the economy.

It also clarified that there were no plans to close down any bank in any part of the country.

The CBN’s assurances came against the backdrop of a misleading report which misquoted Emefiele as attributing the naira banknotes to a shortage of printing materials at the NSPMC known as the Mint.

In a statement issued yesterday, the CBN Director in charge of the Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Osita Nwanisobi, stated that the CBN governor did not disclose during his presentation to the National Council of States that the Mint could not print the required banknotes.

He said: “For the records, what Mr. Emefiele told the meeting was that the NSPMC was working on printing all denominations of the Naira to meet the transaction needs of Nigerians.”

The central bank further appealed to the public to disregard the misleading report and exercise more restraint “even as we work assiduously to increase the circulation of the new notes in the country.”

Similarly, the CBN also raised the alarm over a misleading voice note trending in social media alleging that the CBN planned to shut down some banks, particularly in a particular geo-political region of the country.

Nwanisobi said: “We wish to state unequivocally that there is no such plan and that the claims are illogical and do not comply with the workings of the Nigerian banking system.”

The apex bank said it remained committed to performing its monetary policy functions, as stipulated in the CBN Act, 2007, as amended.

The CBN, however, welcomed concerns shown by all stakeholders about the distribution of the Naira, stressing that “we are alarmed at the extent to which vested interests are attempting to manipulate facts and pitch the public against the bank.”

The apex bank advised well-meaning Nigerians to ignore such recordings as they did not represent its policy thrust, adding that such was part of the desperate attempts by some persons bent on inciting the public against the bank.

Emefiele had on Friday addressed the National Council of State (NCS) on efforts being made by the central bank to eliminate the challenges in the naira redesign policy.

The NCS had tasked the apex bank to make the new Naira notes available or recirculate the old Naira notes to ease the current suffering of Nigerians.

Naira Redesign Not Targeted at Any Individual, CBN Insists

Meanwhile, the CBN has also insisted that the redesign of some naira notes is not targeted at any individual but was done in the country’s overall interest and the economy. Nwanisobi stated this yesterday in an address delivered at the CBN’s Special Day at the 44th Kaduna International Trade Fair.

The bank’s Director in charge of the Corporate Communications Department, Nwanisobi, stated this yesterday in an address delivered at the CBN’s Special Day at the 44th Kaduna International Trade Fair.

Nwanisobi urged Nigerians to embrace alternative payment channels such as e-Naira and internet banking in the face of the cashless policy.

According to the apex bank’s Director of Capacity Development, Mohammed Abbah, who represented Nwanisobi, a major challenge that emerging countries like Nigeria continue to face is “our inability to seamlessly integrate into the global trading system, owing largely to the quality and technological content of the goods and services we produce for export.”

He said that the CBN governor has always emphasised that the redesign of the naira notes was “not targeted at anyone or any group of persons; rather, it derived from the bank’s in-house analysis to strengthen macroeconomic fundamentals and better our socio-economic conditions.”

Nwanusobi said: “The principal aim of the bank, with the currency redesign initiative, is to make our monetary policy decisions more efficacious.

“Nigerians will observe that there has been a downward trend in inflation, and the exchange rates have been relatively stable.

“Furthermore, we aim to increase financial inclusion in the country by reducing the number of the unbanked population.

“Thirdly, our aim is to support the efforts of our security agencies in combating banditry and ransom-taking in Nigeria through this programme.”

According to him, “the CBN is not unmindful of the challenges some citizens have faced in the past few weeks in getting money from their banks or other alternative channels.

“Indeed, there have been reports of occasional transaction failures.

“However, we wish to assure you that the Nigerian payment system infrastructure is robust enough to handle the surging transaction volumes across all channels.

“We, therefore, urge Nigerians to embrace alternative payment channels, such as e-Naira and internet banking, as we embrace the cashless policy.”

He added that the advantages of the currency redesign are overwhelmingly enormous and will benefit the economy in the long run.

The CBN spokesman said the bank, in line with its developmental function as stipulated in the CBN Act, 2007, as amended, has been at the vanguard of promoting quality export through its Produce, Add Value and Export (PAVE) concept, which aims to make Nigerians consume what they produce, add value to such products and export the surpluses.

According to him, the PAVE option of the CBN is similar to the export-led industrialisation policy in South-East Asia, which transformed the economic fortunes of the Asian Tigers Hong Kong, Singapore, South Korea, and Taiwan.

He said PAVE encourages backward integration for the local production of select items.

“Through PAVE, we seek to create a proper linkage between agriculture and the manufacturing sectors of the Nigerian economy while also providing a cushion against the volatility in crude oil production and export,” he added…

“I urge entrepreneurs to ensure that their products and services are export-ready and can compete globally.”

He said over the years, the CBN had also been involved in correcting identified structural challenges of the Nigerian economy.

“Specifically, we have focused mainly on stimulating productivity in the manufacturing sector, strengthening domestic industries, transforming agriculture output to ensure self-sufficiency and shield the local economy from harmful external shocks,” he added.