By Odunewu Segun
The Central Bank of Nigeria has challenged a former deputy governor of the apex bank, Obadia Mailafia, to make public the empirical evidence suggesting that 20 per cent of naira currency in circulation are fake.
Recall that National Daily had reported that Obadia Mailafia, while speaking at the public hearing on the 2017 budget at the National Assembly on Monday, February 13 claimed that 20% of currency in circulation are fake. “Twenty percent of currency circulating in Nigeria is fake; you can’t bring down food prices if you have fake currency circulating,” the former CBN boss had said.
While calling on Nigerians to disregard the claims, CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, Isaack Okorafor, in a statement refuted the claims, noting that the less than one per cent rate represents 0.0014 per cent or 14 counterfeit pieces out of one million bank notes.
“The unfortunate implication of the fabricated claim of the said former official of the Bank, is that it gives the false impression that two bills out of every ten Naira pieces held by an individual is ‘fake’.”
“While we acknowledge that no currency in the world is immune from counterfeiting, we make bold to state that the rate of counterfeiting in Nigeria has been very minimal due to appropriate policies put in place by the Bank,” the CBN said.
“Indeed, our records at the Bank clearly indicate that the prevalence of counterfeit notes in Nigeria from January to December 2016 was LESS THAN ONE PER CENT (0.0014 per cent) or 14 counterfeit pieces out of one million bank notes.”
The apex bank added that in line with its core value of proactivity, it has always endeavoured to use strong security features to make it difficult for dishonest persons to counterfeit the currency, adding that it has also carried out periodic massive nation-wide enlightenment of Nigerians on easy identification of fake banknotes and the reporting of such.
“We therefore find it rather curious that a former high ranking official of the CBN would make such bogus and unauthentic claims apparently calculated to destroy confidence in our national currency and sabotage the collaborative efforts of the CBN and the Federal Government at ensuring enduring stability of the financial system.”
The CBN, the statement said, therefore, challenged Mr. Mailafia to present empirical evidences to the public in support of his claims, noting that the CBN frowns at attempt to counterfeit the naira.