The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, has said he will work with law enforcement agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offenses Commission to crack down on and track large withdrawals.
He said this while briefing the press after the launch of the new Naira notes in Abuja on Wednesday.
At the briefing, Emefiele said the amount of money that can be withdrawn from the counter would be drastically reduced, adding that the withdrawal would require various procedures and security checks to monitor usage.
He said this would ensure a smooth transition to a cashless economy.
“There is no economy full of thinking that it should be a money economy; the world has moved from a predominantly cash to a cashless economy. And I believe that Nigeria and the Central Bank of Nigeria are ready to move to a cashless economy. And that is why, following the redesign and issuance of this note, we will emphasize that it will be cashless throughout the nation.
“We will limit the volume of cash that people can withdraw at the counter. If you need to withdraw large volumes of money, you will fill in countless forms, we will take your details, be it your BVN or NIN, so that our law enforcement agencies like the EFCC and ICPC can track you and cash out to make sure you take it with a good purpose.”
He also stated that this move along with the redesigned notes would ensure that the apex bank has extensive control over the amount of money in circulation.
The CBN governor also argued that the new move is not targeting anyone, while he noted that past attempts to redesign the naira notes were resisted.
According to him, “The Central Bank of Nigeria is mandated by law to reissue and redesign the currency every five to eight years for the country and for Nigerians. And I hope that after today’s event, the Central Bank of Nigeria can make it part of its programs to redesign the currency every five to eight years or to see if they are reissued.
“It is mainly because the central bank must be able to fully control the amount of currency in circulation. That is the true mandate of the Central Bank of Nigeria because it has implications for the management of the country’s monetary policy.
“There is no need for anyone to think that this program is aimed at anyone. As you heard the president say, this discussion of redesigning and reissuing the currency began earlier this year.”
The President, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), said the naira notes are long overdue because the current tender has been in circulation for almost 20 years.
He said the newly redesigned notes have special security features that make counterfeiting difficult.
Buhari said this when he unveiled the new Naira notes at the council chamber of the State House, Abuja, ahead of the commencement of this week’s Federal Executive Council meeting.
According to a statement signed by Buhari’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, Buhari also expressed satisfaction that the redesigned currency was produced locally by Nigerian Security Printing and Minting PLC.
During the presentation of the new banknotes, 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 has been almost 20 years since the last major overhaul of the country’s local currency.
”This means that Naira needs to wear a new look for a long time.
“A banknote redesign cycle is generally aimed at achieving specific goals, including: improving banknote security, mitigating counterfeiting, preserving the collective national heritage, controlling currency in circulation, and reducing the overall cost of currency management.” he said
He added, “The new Naira notes have been strengthened with security features that make counterfeiting difficult.”
Explaining why he accepted the redesign, the president said that it is urgent to control the amount of currency in circulation.