By Emman Ujah, Abuja Bureau Chief
ABUJA—The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Thursday, announced the introduction of a new currency series under which the existing denominations of N50, N100, N200, N500 and the N1,000 notes will be redesigned with added security features.
CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, told journalists in Abuja at a briefing that N5,000 note would also be introduced, while the lowest denominations of N5, N10 and N20 are to be coined.
He said: “On November 28, 2011, the CBN Board considered and approved the new currency series. It subsequently sought and, on December 19, 2011, obtained the approval of President Goodluck Jonathan.
“Under the new structure, the existing denominations of N50, N100, N200, N500 and N1,000 will be redesigned with added new security features. It is also our pleasure to inform you that a new high currency denomination will also be introduced. It is the N5,000 note.”
According to him, the CBN plans to launch the redesigned N50 and new N5,000 notes in early March 2013.
He said the introduction of the new currency series “will be a gradual process, as the banknotes will circulate simultaneously with the old series until they are fully withdrawn from circulation.
“Therefore, there will be no urgent need for exchange of the old for the new banknotes by the general public for as long as the old notes are in circulation, they remain legal tender.”
Mallam Sanusi revealed that the N5,000 note will bear the pictures of three notable Nigerian women: Margaret Ekpo, Funmi Kuti and Gambo Sawaba, all deceased, as a way of recognising their contributions to the development of the nation.
The second side of the note, he added, will carry the picture of the National Assembly, which represents the symbol of democracy in Nigeria.
The governor declined to disclose the contractors that carried out the re-designing work and the overall cost of the project.
Reacting to concerns that introducing higher denominations at this period could push up inflation, Sanusi said: “Inflation in Nigeria is a monetary phenomenon. Secondly, in some countries such as Singapore, Germany and Japan, the highest denominations are 10,000 SGD, 500Euro and Yen 10,000, respectively.
“These denominations have relatively high dollar equivalent. The levels of inflation are, however, low at 2.8, 1.1 and -0.7, respectively as at 2010.
“We believe that the introduction of a higher bill would complement the bank’s cashless policy as it would substantially reduce the volume of currency in circulation, particularly in the long term.”