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WHY I APPROVED REDESIGN OF NAIRA LOCALLY – BUHARI

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President Muhammadu Buhari unveils the redesigned naira notes

PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari yesterday inaugurated the new Naira banknotes, expressing delight that the redesigned currencies were locally produced by the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting, NSPM Plc.

Speaking at the inauguration of the new banknotes, which preceded the Federal Executive Council, FEC, meeting in Abuja yesterday, Buhari explained in detail the basis for his approval to the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, to redesign the N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes.

According to him, the new Naira banknotes have been fortified with security features that make them difficult to counterfeit.

He added that the new banknotes would help CBN to design and implement better monetary policy objectives, as well as enrich the collective memory of Nigeria’s heritage.

Buhari, who commended the CBN Governor Godwin Emefiele and his deputies for the initiative, also thanked the Managing Director, Mr. Ahmed Halilu, Executive Directors and staff of NSPM PLC “for working tirelessly with the apex bank to make the currency redesign a reality, and for printing the new Naira notes within a comparatively short time.”

The President noted that international best practice required central banks and national authorities to issue new or redesigned currency notes every five to eight years.

Redesign long overdue — BUHARI

He noted that it was now almost 20 years since the last major redesign of the country’s local currency was done, adding that implied that the Naira was long overdue for a redesign.

The President said: ”A cycle of banknote redesign is generally aimed at achieving specific objectives, including, but not limited to improving security of banknotes.

”It is also aimed at mitigating counterfeiting, preserving the collective national heritage, controlling currency in circulation, and reducing the overall cost of currency management.

‘‘As is known, our local laws, specifically the Central Bank of Nigeria Act of 2007, grants the CBN the power to issue and redesign the Naira.

“In line with this power, the bank’s 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 CBN.”

He expressed the hope that the new notes would address the urgent need to take control of currency in circulation, adding that it would also address the menace of hoarding Naira banknotes outside the banking system and curb the shortage of clean and fit banknotes in circulation.

Design was locally done

Buhari said the redesigned notes would equally address the increase in counterfeiting of high-denomination Naira banknotes.

“It is on this basis that I gave my approval for the redesign of the N200, N500 and N1000 banknotes.

“While this may not be apparent to many Nigerians, only four out of the 54 African countries print their currencies in their countries, and Nigeria is one, hence a majority of African countries print their currencies abroad and import them the way we import other goods.

“That is why it is with immense pride that I announce to you that these redesigned currencies are locally produced right here in Nigeria by NSPM Plc,’’ he said.

Currency ought to be redesigned, re-issued by 5-8 yrs – EMEFIELE

In his remarks, Emefiele explained that in line with global practice, the naira was supposed to be redesigned and re-issued between five and eight years.

He regretted that in Nigeria, the naira had not been redesigned for about 19 years now because of lack of political will from the previous leaders.

He said: “In the past, I have to confess that attempts by the CBN to redesign and reissue the naira notes have been resisred. It is only President Muhammadu Buhari that has the courage to do so.”

Emefiele said it was the mandate of the CBN to redesign and reissue the notes, assuring that henceforth, the exercise would take place after five to eight years.

“After today, the CBN will begin to redesign and re-issue the naira for every five to eight years,” he said.

The CBN governor said Nigeria had gone cashless and that security agencies would monitor people making withdrawal at the counter to know how much withdrawn and also monitor the usage of the money.

He said there was no need to insinuate that the policy was targeted at anyone, adding that the CBN was determined to ensure that the provision of the law on volume of money one should carry was followed.

“The world has moved to cashless economy and the CBN has moved to cashless economy. We will restrain the volume of cash someone will withdraw over the counter. We will follow up with the person’s data to know the reason for such withdrawal,” he said.

For those calling for extension of time for the usage of the old notes, the CBN boss said: “We will not go with people that want extension of time. From today, this currency that was re-issued will become a legal tender.”

He said there was no local government area in the country where there was no bank agent, adding that there was over one million point across the country that people could go and deposit the old notes.

He also assured that the new notes could not be counterfeited because of the features in them.

Distribution to CBN branches begins today, Currency Operations Director says

Also speaking on the issue yesterday, the Director of Currency Operations, Mr. Bello Umar, said: “From Thursday, that is tomorrow (today), we will start distribution to CBN branches across the country, so that whenever we are set to launch, maybe at a later date, we already have the notes across the country.”

The new notes are expected to be in circulation as from December 15, and will circulate side-by-side with the old notes until January, 31 2023, when the latter would cease to be legal tender. Mr. Umar, said, however, that the apex bank was concerned that the rush to deposit old notes had not yet been seen, as anticipated.

He revealed that as of Friday, last week, only N165 billion had been deposited by banks with the CBN, adding that even some of the banks with high customer-base records had not made any deposit.

Under the policy, the CBN expects to mop up about N2.7 trillion held outside the banking system, out of the N3.2 trillion in circulation.

Umar said: “When we designed this policy, there was about N2.7 trillion outside the banking system, out of the N3.2 trillion in circulation. As at Friday, November 18, the total deposit we have received from the banks was N165 billion, which is still small.

“We are not seeing the rush. Some banks have not even made any deposits and some of them are banks with large customer-base. In fact, the Director, Banking Supervision had to bring it to the notice of the Inter-Agency Committee, yesterday.

“It is a problem for us and we are hoping that it does not result in a stampede when we are getting close to the end of January.”

The director said the CBN had extended its work days to Saturday and that the bank’s branches were opened to receive deposits from banks.

He said the apex bank had also waived charges and removed all limits in terms of the amount of money a customer could deposit in his account, adding that there was no reason for anyone to be afraid to deposit their monies in their accounts.

‘There’ll be no deadline extension’

He warned that the January 31, 2023, deadline was sacrosanct and that members of the public should make sure they returned the three denominations (N200, N500 and N1, 000) before January 31, 2023, as all monies held in those denominations would cease to be legal tender after that day.

Network facilities, 1.4 m agents to assist rural dwellers

In his remarks, the Director of Corporate Communications, Mr. Osita Nwani-sobi, assured that centres would be created for rural, unbanked members of the public to change their old notes.

He added that the Shared Agent Network Expansion Facilities, SANEF, had over 1.4 million agents across Nigeria to address that concern, ”such that even where people don’t have bank accounts, they will still be able to change their money and we are going to be doing that within the next few days.

“The CBN is very mindful and has said that we will do whatever needs to be done to enable people change whatever money they have.”

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BUHARI BRANDS GOVS THIEVES OVER LG FUNDS

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President Muhammadu Buhari

•Accuses them of stealing councils’ funds, remitting half of allocations, stifling rural development

President Muhammadu Buhari has again knocked governors, accusing them of stealing local government funds and stifling development of rural communities.

The criticism came barely 24 hours after the Minister for State Budget and National Planning, Clement Agba had blamed the state executives for the high rate of poverty in the country by investing in the construction of flyovers and airports rather than improving conditions of rural dwellers.

President Buhari, who spoke after delivering his speech at an event hosted for members of the Senior Executive Course 44 (2022) of the National Institute for Policy and Strategic Studies (NIPSS) at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, flayed governors who collected money on behalf of council areas in their states only to remit half of such funds to council chairmen.

The president said he spoke from personal experience involving a governor he declined to name. He connected the vice to the issue of lack of integrity in many people holding positions like governorship and council chairmanship. He said such behaviour was reprehensible and spoke to the height of corruption in the country.

“I found it necessary to digress after reading my speech and this digression is as a result of my personal experience. What they did, this is my personal experience, if the money from the Federation Account to the state is about N100 million, N50 million will be sent to the chairman but he will sign that he received N100 million. The governor will pocket the balance and share it with whoever he wants to share it with.

“And then the chairman of the local government must see how much he must pay in salaries and to hell with development. When he pays the salaries of the big man, the balance he will put in his pocket. This is what’s happening. This is Nigeria. It’s a terrible thing; you cannot say the person who was doing this is not educated.”

The president urged public office holders to be guided by their conscience and personal integrity on their beats. He pledged that the recommendations contained in the presentation of SEC 44 would be painstakingly studied by with a view to implementing its recommendations.

Declaring that his administration has done so much in building trust between the government and the people, het noted that the report would largely assist in the provision of good governance to the people at the grassroots and by extension win back their trust in government.

“It is obvious that government cannot afford to pay lip-service to the recommendations contained in this report. I assure you that the report will be treated with the seriousness and urgency it deserves. Government will study the report with the view to implementing the carefully detailed recommendations,” he said.

Commending the quality of the report and the commitment and dedication that went into it, President Buhari said the National Institute can always be trusted to deliver on critical and sensitive assignments of national importance. He expressed delight that the Institute has been exceptional in handling several assignments, and the current submission is a commendable improvement on the existing standards.

“The quality of the presentation, and the confidence with which they were made strongly attests to the quality of training the participants received during the course. I congratulate you for justifying the confidence and trust reposed in each and everyone of you by your respective nominations.

He added that he was convinced that they were all now well equipped for the strategic tasks, increased responsibilities, and positions of authority of trust.

“I challenge you to go back to your various establishments, units, posts, beats, departments, directorates, Ministries, Parastatals, commissions, commands, agencies to revitalise, reinvigorate, reform and rejig your various platforms and spheres of influence, responsibility and leadership,” he said.

After listening to some demands by the leadership of NIPSS, President Buhari promised to look into some of the challenges facing the Institute, adding that no government establishment exists without challenges.

He assured them that his administration is poised to complete the review and passage of the NIPSS establishment act and condition of service before handover in May 2023.

To this extent, the President directed the Secretary to the Government of the Federation and Office of the Head of Service of the Federation to take all necessary steps to its actualisation.

Director-General of NIPSS, Prof Ayo Omotayo, said the Course participants undertook study tours of 14 States of the Federation, six African countries and six countries outside Africa.

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OGUN POLICE NAB TWO BROTHERS FOR CAR THEFT

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Ogun-State-Map

The Ogun State Police Command has arrested two brothers who reportedly stole a Toyota Camry in Lagos.

The suspects were arrested on Wednesday by its officers on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway while trying to escape with the stolen car to Imo State.

The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, SP Abimbola Oyeyemi, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday.

Oyeyemi explained that the suspects, who worked at a car wash, stole the car from a customer who took his car to them for a service.

He said, “Police in Ogun State on the 30th of November 2022 arrested two brothers, Emanuel Nwachukwu 28 years. and Sunday Nwachukwu 24 years, for stealing a Toyota Camry with registration number JJJ 661 GJ while on their way taking the said vehicle to Imo state.

“The two suspects were arrested by men of the Federal Highway patrol, who were on a stop-and-search duty along Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.

“The vehicle was stopped by the policemen for routine check at about 11:30 pm, but while the officers were asking questions from one of them who drove the car, the two brothers who were the occupants suddenly abandoned the car and took to their heels.

“They were hotly chased and apprehended by the policemen, who there and then took them to the Ewu-Oliwo divisional headquarters for proper interrogation.

“On interrogation, the two brothers who live at No 2, Onifade street, Fagba Lagos confessed to stealing the car from one Bello Muyideen Kolawole of Arobaba street, Idimu Lagos.

“Upon their confession, the DPO Ewu-Oliwo division, CSP Toyosi Bello, quickly got in touch with the said owner, who confirmed that the two brothers were working at a car wash very close to his shop, and that he took the car to the place for wash, only for the two brothers to run away with it.”

The PPRO, however, said the Commissioner of Police, CP Lanre Bankole, had directed that the two suspects be transferred to State Criminal Investigation Department for onward transfer to the Lagos State Command, where the crime was originally committed.

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POLICE ARRAIGN CRYPTOCURRENCY MARKETER OVER ALLEGED N51.7M FRAUD

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Cryptocurrency

The Lagos State Police have arraigned a cryptocurrency marketer, Temitope Longe, before a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos for allegedly obtaining the sum of N51,789,222 by false pretence and fraud.

Longe was docked before Justice Tijjani Ringim on the alleged offences by the officers of the Police Special Fraud Unit Ikoyi, Lagos.

The PSFU’s prosecutor, Mr Justin Enang, told the court that the cryptocurrency operator and others now at large, committed the offences in Lagos sometimes in 2017.

Enang told the court that the defendant fraudulently obtained the sum of N25,894,711 from one Dr. Abiodun Adefunrin with false pretence of investing same in cryptocurrencies and forex trading.

He further told the court that the defendant fraudulently obtained the sum of  N25,894,711 property of Francis Aremu, and converted same to his personal use.

According to the prosecutor, the offences committed contravened Sections 8(a) and 1(1){a) and punishable under Section 1(3) of Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act, 2006.

He also told the court that the offence was contrary to and punishable under Section 15(2)(b) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2011 as Amended in 2012.

However, the defendant pleaded not guilty to the allegations levelled against him.

Following the defendant’s plea, the prosecutor asked for a trial date and also urged the court to remand him in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Services until the determination of the charges against him.

But the defendant through his counsel pleaded with the court to admit him to bail in the most liberal terms.

His counsel told the court that his client was a first-time offender and that charges against him were bailable ones.

Justice Ringim, after listening to the counsels’ submissions, admitted the defendant to bail in the sum of N20 million with two sureties in like sum.

The Judge further ordered that one of the sureties must be a civil servant not below Grade Level 14, among others.

Justice Ringim ordered that the defendant be remanded in NCS custody until when he is able to meet the bail conditions, and adjourned the case to March 30, 2023, for trial.

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