BusinessDay
NigeriaDecides2023

Central Bank’s redesigned Naira notes draws derision

Many Nigerians appear unimpressed with the redesigned Naira notes as they took to social media to express their disappointment with an exercise that was announced with so much fanfare but produced uninspiring results.

Godwin Emefiele, Nigeria’s Central Bank governor on October 26 called a press conference and said the country was redesigning its N200, N500 and N1000 bank notes. He directed commercial banks to open at unusual hours including weekends to accept the old notes.

Many Nigerians were expecting significantly redesigned notes, perhaps with added features to make it difficult to counterfeit, but the Central Bank governor led the President to sign off on the same old notes with brighter colours.

“If its Naira colour, the CBN should have just engaged Snapchat,” said former Senator Shehu Sani on Twitter.

There was no new concept or design structure and people who actually have an understanding of design say it’s cheeky to call what was produced a redesigned notes.

“I’m sorry Central bank,” Ayo Obe, lawyer and human rights activist writes on Twitter, “To apply the word ‘designed’ – let alone ‘redesigned’ – to this colour change is an abuse of language.”

Read also: New Naira: banks begin extension of operating hours to 6pm

Some Nigerians posted pictures of the old naira notes of N10, N20 and N50, alongside the redesigned notes whose colour schemes seemed to have inspired the so-called redesigned notes to demonstrate how unoriginal the thinking was.

Emefiele in remarks at a press briefing on Wednesday after the redesigned notes were unveiled by President Muhammadu Buhari was more concerned with dispelling the notion that the exercise was targeted at anyone and how that rural dwellers would not be financial excluded.

“We have not had the opportunity for redesigning currency for the past 19 years, i hope that after today, we should be able to carry out the redesigning after 5-8 years.

“The program was not targeted at anyone, we took painstaking efforts at looking at the pros and coin of the importance of redesigning the Naira,” he said.

Analysts say it is expected that the new notes will carry the usual security features but it seemed unusual not to have mentioned how the new notes would be counterfeit-proof considering that making the notes harder to fake was a key reason given for redesigning it in the first place.

The current $100 bill was redesigned in April 2010 and was issued to the public in October 2013. The redesigned $100 note incorporates two advanced security features – the 3-D Security Ribbon and the Bell in the Inkwell – and other innovative advancements.

Even though the actual designed was carried out, citizens were not ordered to trade in their old-design notes for new one as all US currency remains legal tender regardless of when it was issued.

The Central Bank governor said “the world has moved to cashless and from today, we are moving into full cashless economy

“We will fully insist that our economy goes cashless and limit cash withdrawn, across the counter in banks

Emefiele said his CBN will make life harder for Nigerians seeking to withdraw a lot of cash as they will need to fill forms and be monitored by security operatives.

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