The Managing Director of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc (NSPM or the Mint), Mr. Emmanuel Ehi Okoyomon, has revealed that the banknote printing machine required to print the enhanced security features on the N5,000 note and other new banknotes will be available at the mint by June next year.
This is just as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has once again defended its bid to launch the N5,000 banknote, saying that the proposed currency will help to correct the inefficiency in the distribution and structure of cash in Nigeria.
Deputy Governor, Operations, CBN, Mr. Tunde Lemo said this in an interview with journalists on the sidelines of the 17th edition of the Association of African Banknotes and Security Documents Printers (AABSDP) in Lagos Monday.
Under the proposed currency regime, a 12-new currency structure is expected to emerge at the end of the exercise, which will be officially launched early next year.
This comprises 50 kobo, N1, N2, N5, N10 and N20, which will be minted in coins, while the N50, N100, N200, N500, N1,000 and N5,000 will be redesigned with new security features as banknotes.
Commenting on the upgrade of the mint’s facilities, Okoyomon confirmed that machines needed to implement some of the security features introduced by the CBN in the new banknotes are not available at the NSPM.
Okoyomon said: “There is a particular feature on the N5,000 banknote that we don’t have the machine to print at the moment. But I can assure you that by the middle of next year, we will have the machine that can print the N5,000 note.
Okoyomon also denied rumours that the central bank had already printed the new banknotes.
On his part, Lemo, who represented the CBN Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, at the conference, said that the security features to be included in the new banknotes would make it difficult for counterfeiters to reproduce the naira.
He added: “All we are saying is that the distribution and structure of cash in Nigeria is inefficient and we spend so much printing currency and we can correct that with the introduction of the N5,000.
“Suppose you need to print about one million N100 notes, you can actually reduce cost by printing them in N5,000; of course, the cost differential is very minimal.
“But at the high end, the volume of N1,000 that we are using today, gives a compelling reason why some of it should be denominated in N5,000 so as to reduce cost.”
Lemo insisted that the planned introduction of a higher denomination of currency was not in conflict with the cashless policy of the CBN.
“The two must happen in tandem. Yes, electronic banking is where to go because of the increase in volume of commercial activities in the last 10 years, but then cash will not go away. While alternative channels will be growing, the volume of cash in the system will remain the same.
“So when they castigate us that we are speaking from both sides of the mouth by talking cashless and introducing a higher denomination, our response is that we must be more efficient with the use of cash because cash will not go away.
“So we are attacking efficiency from both ends and the two are not contradictory, rather they are complementary.
“The existing policy actually is that if you must carry high volumes of cash, you must pay the associated charges with the carriage of high volumes of cash and the charges of electronic banking will continue to go down as we achieve critical mass,” he added.