by Oke Efagene
Nigeria’s apex bank over the weekend, denied claims that it had printed the controversial new N5,000 notes and coins that the Senate had earlier refused it permission to print.
Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) governor, made this known after the 5th Bankers’ Committee retreat held in Calabar, Cross River State.
He spoke on the issue while answering a question on the scarcity of lower denomination and increase in the volume of dirty bank notes in the economy.
He said “as a result of all the noise around N5, 000 notes and coins, that process was stopped. We did not print the new notes. I know some people think we have already printed, but we did not print the new notes and we did not award the contracts for the new notes. We have re-ordered banknotes and I think they have started arriving and probably you would have seen some improvements on that by now.”
It was gathered at the retreat that the CBN, Bankers committee agreed to deliver price stability and economic growth in 2014.
The Bankers’ Committee also assured Nigerians and other stakeholders in the banking sector of its continuous collaboration to promote an efficient and stable economy for the country.
The CBN governor explained that the committee has revalidated its goals to include the modernisation of the payment system; shared services and infrastructure for the financial industry to reduce cost; increased funding of small and medium enterprises; agriculture; power and telecommunication sectors.
According to him, “Modernisation of the financial services industry infrastructure and payment system is critical to reduce cost of services to the banking public.
“We will continue to explore and develop areas of collaboration in shared services and infrastructure to reduce the operating cost structure of the industry,” he added.
Earlier, at the opening ceremony of the retreat, Sanusi, had urged members of the committee to build the Nigerian banking system to become the best in the World.
Going back memory lane, the governor recalled how at the maiden retreat held in Enugu in 2009, the committee was confronted with a banking system that was in serious crisis. He traced series of unpopular but courageous decisions and steps that were taken to rescue the Nigerian banking system and place it in its current enviable state.
He enumerated several of the achievements attained in the banking sector during his tenure as CBN Governor. On monetary policy, he pointed out that decisions have been taken in a way devoid of arbitrariness, with members given the latitude to make their independent voting decisions. He noted that personal statements of the individual members of the Monetary Policy Committee are now published alongside the actual decisions and are public records.
“In the wake of this, stability had been maintained over the years and inflation driven down from over 13 per cent in 2009 to below 7.8 per cent as at October 2013. It is expected that the single-digit inflation will sustain through the foreseeable future.
The CBN Governor explained that as far as monetary policy is concerned, the CBN has delivered 100 per cent on its mandate.
On exchange rate stability Sanusi, said that while the currencies of most emerging markets lost appreciable value in their currencies, in double digit range, the naira lost only 2.3 per cent during the period.