Nigeria to roll out redesigned banknotes in December to curb terrorism and money laundering
ABUJA, Nigeria - The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) plans to roll out the newly redesigned currency by December 15th this year. Nigerian head of state Muhammadu Buhari says there is no going back on the policy.
CBN has announced its planned redesign of N200, N500, and N1,000 notes with the current notes in circulation ceasing to be legal tender by the end of January 2023.
While in the UK where he held a meeting with King Charles III at Buckingham Palace last week, President Buhari said that the government would not abandon the plan.
“No going back. My aim is to make sure that Nigerians believe that we respect them as an administration.
"So, Nigerians should vote for whoever they like from whichever political party. Nobody will be allowed to mobilize resources and thugs to intimidate people in any constituency. That is what I want to go down in Nigerian history for as a leader.”
According to CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele “In recent times, currency management has faced several daunting challenges that have continued to grow in scale and sophistication with attendant and unintended consequences for the integrity of both the CBN and the country.”
The governor further stated that there had been significant hoarding of banknotes with statistics showing that over 85 percent of monies in circulation were outside the vaults of commercial banks.
“N2.73 trillion ($4.9 billion) out of the N3.23 trillion ($5.7 billion) in circulation exists outside the vault of the commercial banks. Evidently, currency in circulation has more than doubled since 2015, rising from N1.46 trillion ($2.6 billion) in December 2015 to N3.23 trillion ($5.7 billion) as of September 2022,” he added.
CBN governor also stated that the CBN was convinced that the incidents of terrorism and kidnapping would reduce as access to large volumes of money outside the banking sector, which is used as a source of funds for a ransom payment, will begin to dry up.
“Indeed, recent developments in photographic technology and advancements in printing devices have made counterfeiting relatively easier.
"In recent years, the CBN has recorded significantly higher rates of counterfeiting, especially at the higher denominations of N500 and N1, 000 banknotes,” he said.
The bank described that plan as a move to counter terrorism financing, hoarding of banknotes, and the increasing ease and risk of counterfeiting.
The change of the banknotes, which comes as the nation prepares for the general election in February 2023, according to political pundits, is intended to push politicians to release huge amounts of money they could be holding into circulation.