by Isi Esene
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), through it Deputy Governor, Operations, Tunde Lemo, today revealed that one of the reasons for pursuing the phase-off of the polymer currency notes is to halt the undue advantage held by the Australian firm printing the notes.
Lemo explained that under the monopoly which the CBN found itself, the apex bank is obliged to pay the printing company, Securency International Pty Limited, whatever amount it charges knowing there are no alternatives available to the bank.
According to reports, he said, “Securency is the only producer of polymer currency in the world and so the CBN has been resorting to single sorting for banknote,” said Lemo. “This, we think, is not good for the country. Even though the plan is to coin N5, N10 and N20, the N50 note will be converted to paper currency. However, if Nigerians show preference for retaining the N5, N10 and N20 in banknotes instead of coins, it shall no longer be in polymer.
The destruction of banknotes made of polymer has proved to be a challenge in Nigeria from an environmental perspective. Briquetting (destruction of unfit banknotes) of polymer is not always easy because it is made of polythene and emits substances that are not environmentally friendly.”
The CBN spokesman, Ugochukwu Okoroafor consolidated Lemo’s position saying, “We need to take back all our patents and right. Right now, some of the patents and rights do not belong to Nigeria or the CBN. We had a rude shock when that became an issue when we wanted to print a particular set of notes. So we are using this exercise to take back that right. If it belongs to Nigeria, nobody will hold us to ransom.”
Okoroafor explained that currency review is not an unusual occurrence citing other countries who have recently done same.
He said, “Every currency gets reviewed once in a while. Right now, the United Kingdom is reviewing its currency. So currency review is something that we must do. As a monetary authority, it is our responsibility enshrined in the CBN Act 2007.”
So, for the umpteenth time, the note stays.