The Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Aishah Ahmad has said that 500 million new naira notes have been ordered and would be printed soon.
Ahmad spoke on Thursday while being grilled by members of the house of representatives during the plenary session.
President Muhammadu Buhari had last month unveiled the redesigned naira notes of N1000, N500 and N200 denominations.
The CBN had recently introduced new N200, N500 and N1,000 notes, with concerns that the newly designed denominations are scarce in circulation.
Speaking on the development, Ahmad told the House of Representatives that she does not know how many notes were printed in the recent redesign of the naira.
Ahmad who represented the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, while responding to questions from members of the House, said she could not ascertain the exact amount and the number of notes printed.
The CBN deputy governor said she did not want to give a wrong figure.
Ahmad, however, failed to answer questions concerning how much was spent on naira redesign, and if the amount was appropriated by the National Assembly.
Buhari had during the launch of the new notes expressed delight that the redesigned currencies were locally produced by the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc.
The President noted that international best practice requires central banks and national authorities to issue new or redesigned currency notes every five to eight years.
He lamented that it is almost 20 years since the last major redesign of the country’s local currency was done.
“This implies that the Naira is long overdue to wear a new look.
“A cycle of banknote redesign is generally aimed at achieving specific objectives, including but not limited to: improving the security of banknotes, mitigating counterfeiting, preserving the collective national heritage, controlling currency in circulation, and reducing the overall cost of currency management,” he said.
He added that “the new Naira banknotes have been fortified with security features that make them difficult to counterfeit.’’
Explaining why he approved the redesign, the President said there is an urgent need to control the amount of currency in circulation.
‘‘As is known, our local laws – specifically the Central Bank of Nigeria Act of 2007 – grant the Central Bank of Nigeria the power to issue and redesign the Naira. In line with this power, the Central Bank Governor approached me earlier in this year to seek my permission to embark on a currency redesign project. I considered all the facts and reasons presented before me by the Central Bank.
‘‘There was an urgent need to take control of currency in circulation and to address the hoarding of Naira banknotes outside the banking system, the shortage of clean and fit banknotes in circulation, and the increase in counterfeiting of high-denomination Naira banknotes.
“It is on this basis that I gave my approval for the redesign of the ₦200, ₦500 and ₦1000 banknotes,” Buhari said.