Nigerians have continued to lament the scarcity of lower currency notes, especially traders and commuters who now abandon their balance after purchase or exchange of services when sellers could not raise the necessary balance to complete the transaction.
According to a trader at the Daleko market, Mushin, the absence of lower denominations like N10, N20, N50 and N100 makes buyers to buy elsewhere. “I turn down buyers because what I get from them is N1000, N500 notes and I will not have the change to give them. This is frustrating.”
Controller of Ilorin branch of CBN, Mr. Monday Olotewo, attributed the dearth of the smaller notes to the withdrawal of bad Naira notes from the system by the CBN.
“We are very much aware of the problems being encountered by people on account of shortage of lower denominations of the Naira, and we have made a request for new notes at the head office in Abuja. We are optimistic that there will be balancing soon; injection of adequate lower denominations of the Naira. Some of the notes were badly handled by members of the public, thereby rendering it useless for transaction,” he noted.
Further investigations by National Daily corroborated the bank’s position. President Sadon Savings and Loans, Alhaji Abubakar Duchi, agreed that the non-replacement of the notes withdrawn by the CBN is responsible for the dearth of the lower notes.
“I am not faulting the CBN for doing their job. What they did was right, but why have they not provided new notes to avoid what is happening now in the country. It is expected that the new notes will be injected into the system. That should be done because those in the informal sector are groaning, the elites may not experience it, but the man on the street is affected,” he told National Daily
Meanwhile, investigations by National Daily also revealed that the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has not printed the small naira denominations for about a year, causing the scarcity of the notes in the economy.
Sources at the CBN hinted that for a year now, the apex bank did not award contract for the printing of the notes such as N5, N10, N20 and N50 usually done abroad.
National Daily gathered that the recently printed notes in circulation, N200, N500 and N1, 000, were produced by the Nigeria Security Printing and Minting plc (NSPM).
According to the NSPM website, the company has the ability to print over 40 million notes weekly. However, the sources said the high cost of printing banknotes was the reason the apex bank did not give contracts for their production. “The cost of printing N50 is almost the same as N1,000”
A worker at a one of the first generation bank told National Daily that throughout the 2016 festive seasons, there were hardly smaller currency notes to give to customers. “We usually request for cash from the CBN through our Cash Management Centre, but recently, we have not been able to get mints of N100 and below.”
Meanwhile, the CBN Acting Director, Corporate Communications, Mr. Isaac Okorafor, denied the allegation that the apex bank had not contracted the printing of smaller denomination currencies since 2015.
“There is no scarcity of smaller denomination in the market. People are complaining because we did not make provision for mints to be supplied in smaller denomination during the festive season.”