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We must redesign Naira to forestall counterfeits - Sanusi

By The Citizen
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The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, has said that Nigeria must redesign the Naira in order to beat the ingenuity of counterfeiters.

Speaking Wednesday during an interactive session with members of the House of Representatives Committee on Banking and currency, he remarked that the redesigning of Naira has become pertinent, as it would conform to global best practices.

The CBN boss whose appearance was sequel to a resolution of the House of Representatives aimed at curbing the incidence of fake currency dispensed in the Automated Teller Machines (ATM) acknowledged that there have been negligible cases of counterfeiting of the naira.

He explained that recorded counterfeit notes per one million pieces processed were about 3.9 pieces in 2007; six pieces in 2008; 8.4 pieces in 2009, 7.4 in 2010; 5.4 in 2011; and 8.4 pieces in 2012.

Lamenting that a recent proposal to redesign the currency was flatly rejected by the authorities, he said incidences of having counterfeit notes on ATM machines equipped with censors, remains a rare occurrence.

He noted: 'One of the reasons we wanted to have a restructuring of the redesign of the currency a few months ago was because as explained, many of our notes had been in existence for upward of eight or even 10 years.

'Now, best practice is that within a period of five to eight years you redesign the currency because after that period, counterfeiters tend to catch up. Even at that, Nigerian notes in terms of what we see as counterfeit and processing, the percentage is very low

'But with ATM machines, it should not happen because it has been processed and we would be very pleased to know if there are specifics about any bank, so that we can draw their attention on the importance of processing them before putting them in ATM machines.

'Now unfortunately, the redesign suffered because of all the noise around N5, 000 note and therefore, it is been delayed because that is what would have made it impossible for counterfeiters to catch up, so till they have to wait for another five, six and seven years before they learn how to counterfeit, by which point , the CBN should be redesigning the notes again.

'So, I suppose that at some point, the country would have to revisit the issue of redesigning the notes but at the moment, based on popular demands, we have had to step down the redesign', he stated.