Amidst the naira crisis following the redesign of the the three highest denominations of Nigeria’s currency, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria has stated that the capacity to print adequate new naira notes is not available.
Daily trust reported that the Governor of the Apex bank made the disclosure on Friday when he briefed the emergency meeting of the National Council of State in Abuja.
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It was reported that Emefiele told the council that the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc (The Mint), suffers capacity constraints, resulting in the failure to print adequate new notes to replace the old N200, N500 and 1,000 notes.
Emefiele was also reported to have indicated that to meet the demand, orders has been placed with foreign firms to supplement what The Mint was producing.
“The Mint has run out of papers to print N500 and 1,000 notes. They have placed orders with a German firm and De La Rue of the UK (for papers) but they have been placed on a long waiting list, so their orders cannot be met now.
The National Council of State advised the apex bank to print more naira notes or re-circulate the old notes, which it had mopped up from circulation, in order to ease the pressure on hapless Nigerians, who had been suffering from the scarcity of the new notes.
Meanwhile, Premium Times reported that, “The Mint had received CBN’s request to print 70million copies of the new notes, totalling N126billion to be pumped into circulation by today (yesterday), The Mint doesn’t have the capacity,” citing an unnamed source.
Saturday Punch reported that according to a top banker who spoke with its correspondents on Friday, stated that information available to him indicated that the Mint had succeeded in printing N500bn worth of the new N1,000, N500 and N200 notes and might not have the capacity to do more than that at the moment.
The top banker, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the subject and because he had not been authorised to speak officially on it went further to say that;
“It is obvious that what has been printed is not enough. How can you withdraw about N2.1tn from circulation and only print N500bn to replace that?
“Is it not obvious that the NSPMC does not have the capacity to print more than N500bn? With the Mint’s current capacity, to print N2tn will take about a year. Even the N500bn printed has been hijacked by politicians, especially governors. You heard one governor saying one of his colleagues was able to withdraw N500m.
“What the CBN is doing is to give us only 10 per cent of the worth of the old notes we deposit with it. For instance, if a bank takes N1bn to the CBN branch office in its area of operation, it will be given N100m new notes to distribute to its branches nationwide and load onto its ATMs.”
President Buhari was reported to be non-committal at the meeting and barely spoke. He left the meeting as the time for the Muslim’s Jummah prayer drew close and his deputy, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, took over. The Vice President said that the President would take a decision.
Nnamdi Maduakor is a Writer, Investor and Entrepreneur