The N1.33 billion spent on making and injecting coins into the Nigerian economy has raised questions about the sincerity of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) to tackle inflation, promote monetary stability, and encourage the use of coins to advance transactions among Nigerians.
Information about this amount spent on printing coins and driving their use among Nigerians has perhaps raised more questions than answers, as many people, especially in the social media space, have questioned the amount spent by the apex bank. This comes as a lot of people say they haven’t seen or used these coins whose denomination falls into the 50kobo, N1, N2 category.
The CBN’s spending on coins was made public in the bank’s consolidated financial statement released on Friday.
The apex bank’s statement showed that it spent the same N1.33 billion to print coins in 2021 and 2022, totaling N2.66 billion in two years, while the amount spent on printing new bank notes fell from N3.32 trillion in 2021 to N3.01 trillion in 2022.
However, eNaira, the CBN digital bank currency whose introduction in 2021 gulped N940 million, rose by more than 150 percent to N2.55 billion in 2022.
Apparently, most people have been concerned about the amount spent on coins, especially as inflation occasioned by the rising cost of living renders these denominations in coins almost less useful.
A breakdown of this amount shows that about N5,509 worth of coins should have been in the hands of 220 million Nigerians (estimated population based on the National Population Census) in a year.
Findings from BusinessDay show that even the most affordable items, such as sweets and biscuits commonly sold on the streets in Nigeria, are bought with naira notes.
Charles Eneanya, a business plan and macroeconomic analyst, in a phone conversation with BusinessDay, questioned the spending on coins.
Eneanya said that the apex bank might have actually spent that amount on making the coins, but looking at the present reality of things, only a few people can claim to have seen these coins.
“To be sincere, I haven’t seen these coins in some years now,” he said. “But I heard that you can get these coins at big shopping malls if you request them.”
Eneanya argued that the present economic reality makes coins less useful for most people, especially as prices of goods hit an all-time low.
“Also added is the weight burden that much coin adds to a carrier,” he added, stating that the weight in relation to paper currency makes Nigerians less attracted to that denomination.
On Twitter, Kesiena Onoriode Adams questioned CBN’s spending on these coins. He tweeted, “The coin in circulation is like the 2023 presidential result announced by INEC.”
Another Oluwa-DC, responding to the tweets presented on StatiSense about this information, asked, “Who’s using and saving up coins?”
Apparently, most respondents on the StatiSense Twitter page questioned the amount spent on coins and where the coins are.
“So what do you feel? Have you seen any coins this year?