19 September, 2009

CBN to issue N5, N10, and N50 notes in polymer substrate

By AMECHI OGBONNA, TITUS NWOKOJI and BLAISE UNDUNZE Thursday, September 17, 2009
In continuation of the currency reforms initiated by Professor Chukwuma Soludo, the immediate past governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the apex bank has said it will on September 30, 2009 issue a total of 1.915 billion notes in N5, N10 and N50 denominations using polymer substrate format.



Mallam Sanusi Lamido

The new notes which will be launched by President Umaru Yar’Adua, is to replace the existing paper mode in the affected denominations.
Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mallam Sanusi Lamido, who briefed the press in Lagos on Wednesday said the extension of polymer substrate was due to the cost effectiveness of the base material and its long lasting nature.
He stated that polymer notes are known to last longer in circulation and was 1.8 times the cost of the paper notes but last 4 times longer than the paper notes. It does not tear easily, nor get soiled easily. According to him, the N20 note on polymer was a test case to determine the advantages and demerits of polymer substrate and its acceptance; and the lower denominations are being reprinted because of their frequency of use by Nigerians.
Of the total amount being introduced, The Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc will only handle 615 million notes while a foreign printing company will complement with 1.3 billion notes.
He explained that the reason the NSPMC was handling only 615 million was because it is still saddled with the responsibility of printing other higher denominations of the naira and has reached its capacity due to the large volume involved.
He enumerated the elements of the currency reform to include reduction in the size of the notes to make them fit properly into a wallet in addition to streamlining of security features for cost effectiveness.
The notes have special features to assist the blind in recognizing the various denominations. They have no naira sign on them while the values are expressed in Igbo, Hausa and Yoruba for easy recognition by most Nigerians, and reflect modern designs in currency production.
Sanusi noted further that the objectives of the reform includes making the notes secure and keep ahead of counterfeiters, enhance the durability of banknotes, thereby sustaining Central Bank’s clean notes policy.
“Since polymer notes last longer in circulation, it implies that the frequency of processing/sorting and replacing unfit/dirty notes will be reduced, translating into cot-savings. The reduction in cost will free resources that could be diverted to other uses.
“ Besides, the long-term cost advantage of polymer is backward integration as the material can be made from petrochemical products which exist in Nigeria” the governor stated.
The new notes, according to him have retained their current sizes, designs and other key elements. Only the watermark has been replaced with the transparent window and G-switch which turns from green to gold when the note is tilted which are essential features present in N20 note.
Responding to questions journalists, Mr. Ben Onyido, director of currency and branch operations Central Bank of Nigeria said that 1.3 billion notes was given to a foreign printer was through a competitive bid process. He recalled that in 2008, no currency was imported from overseas but in this case, the NSPM has reached its capacity for the year

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