The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on Thursday sensitised traders and stakeholders in the famous Katsina Central Market on the economic benefits of the newly- redesigned N200, N500, and N1,000 naira notes.
During the sensitization that lasted for hours at the market square, the Bank’s Director of Currency Operations, Ahmed Bello Umar, said the move would bring the hoarded currency notes into the banking system, thereby making monetary policy more effective.
Umar maintained that the global best practice was for central banks to redesign, produce and circulate new local legal tender every five to eight years. But the naira had not been redesigned in almost 20 years, he added.
While restating that the January 31st deadline for the phasing out of the old notes, he said the redesigned currency will not only enhance security, greater durability, and attractiveness but also assist in controlling inflation. This is as he appealed to the public to report any bank issuing old currency for disciplinary action.
“We are in Katsina State today to cover the campaign for the deep adoption for the distribution of the new redesigned currency.
“We want to see a change and to see that the new notes are available and as a result, CBN management has directed that from Friday last week, all ATMs must carry only new notes.
“We are going around the towns and cities across Nigeria to ensure that all the ATMs are loaded with new notes.
“The redesign is basically an ongoing process anywhere in the world. The practice of changing the notes is five to eight years in many countries.
“And for the last eight to twenty years, we have not changed our notes and there are a lot of counterfeits. So, we are now bringing new features which people may not see,” he stated.
“The intaglio ink is a security ink and very qualitative because it will never dry”, he added.
On his part, the Deputy Director of the National Orientation Agency (NOA), Mukhtar Lawal Tsagem, pledged to start a campaign on the redesigned currency. He said the campaign will also be taken to mosques and churches. He, therefore, called on people to deposit their old naira notes before the deadline.
“NOA will start campaigning nationwide on the redesigned currency tomorrow. We are embarking on a state campaign in all 34 LGAs in Katsina State including the security-prone areas. We are going to disseminate the information.
“We are going to talk to people, to show them the features of the new design naira notes so that they will not be deceived. We are going to also inform them about the deadline which is the 31st of January so they should comply.
“Let them try to see that they deposit their old notes in the banks or any other legal means of money depositing before the deadline so that they will not lose their money.
“We have enough posters, and megaphones to use to act as town criers. We are going to visit the Friday mosques and churches on Sunday to disseminate the same information.
“We have a big communication van with loudspeakers on top of it to reach out to the people,” Tsagem said.
In the meantime, the Chairman of the Katsina Central Market Traders Association, Abbas Labaran Albaba, appreciated the CBN for the sensitization, saying that the redesign would play a major role in addressing inflation in the country.
He, however, urged the CBN to make the new currency available.
One of the participants and small-scale business owner, Kasim Masanawa, told Channels Television that many banks and Point of Sales (PoS) attendants were still disbursing the old currency.
It is observed that some persons are hoarding the new naira notes amidst a worsening shortage of clean banknotes.