CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele, has disclosed that the apex bank has shown willingness to aid the Central Bank of the Gambian (CBG) in printing its currencies.
This was made known by the governor in Abuja while receiving CBG delegates on a two-day visit on Tuesday. The CBG was led by the bank’s governor, Mr. Buah Saidy.
The CBG seeks a partnership with the CBN to solve the multiple currency management challenges bedeviling the country among which is gross currency shortage, as relying on CBG’s current printer, De La Rue of London, has become exorbitant and unsustainable.
Saidy explained that CBG spends around £70,000 to cargo printed currencies from Sri Lanka to the Gambia.
In his response, Emefiele gave his Gambian counterpart the assurance that the CBN was very competitive and could undertake the currency printing project for the Gambia since the Nigerian Security and Minting Company (CBN’s printers) are under-utilizing their installed capacity at the moment.
According to the CBN governor, “I note your point on currency management. The Nigerian mint was set up in the early 1960s and we’ve been producing our currency since the early 60s and we have a lot of idle capacity to ensure that instead of you going to Europe or other countries, you will be able to benefit from our ideas.
“Our colleagues will take you to the security printing facility. Our colleagues that came in from Liberia two months ago were fascinated by the kind of facilities we have at our security printing and minting facility and I am sure that you will also enjoy them.
“And I am sure they will follow you back to the Gambia to see how they can help you to structure your economic order quantities so we can also be of assistance in printing your currency.
“And I can assure you that we can be extremely competitive if only from the standpoint of logistics and freight from Europe but it’s just going to be a few hours from here to the Gambia and the rest of them.”
The CBG governor equally pointed out that part of their reason for coming was to tap from the CBN’s massive know-how and experience on its successful administration of the Nigerian financial system seeking to see how they could receive help on, inter alia, information technology, cyber-security, modernization, forex shipping and management.
Emefiele said that the success the CBN had so far recorded was as a result of the collaboration and support the apex bank gets from the National Assembly.
He responded, “On the issue of the CBN independence, I thank you for the kind words. But I think the point is that we thank our own parliament. Our parliament has been extremely supportive of the CBN.”
Consequently, he admonished the CBG to collaborate with the Gambian parliament to promulgate laws and policies that would orchestrate the needed independence.
He concluded that while the CBN was not relenting on its drive to mitigate supply management challenges, it was also targeting a minimum of 35% decrease in importation via incumbent investments in fertilizer and petrochemical installations.
Azuka Edokobi is a Writer and Entrepreneur