CBN to change polymer Naira notes to paper by June

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is set to phase out polymer notes by June this year as the apex bank is to begin the printing of second generation smaller denominations in paper from that time, the News Agency of Nigeria is reporting.

In an interview with the agency on Sunday in Washington DC at the Spring Meeting of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, Tunde Lemo, the Central Bank Deputy Governor, said the bank is phasing out the polymer notes because it fades out easily.

“By the middle of the year, we will start to produce the second generation of lower denomination notes, now in paper and not in polymer,” he said.

“However, with the benefit of hindsight, we probably should not have adopted polymer because, yes, the substrate lasts longer, but the in-consubstrate began to fade; we didn’t realise that at the time of introduction.”

He said at the time of introducing the polymer notes, available research showed that it lasts longer than paper notes.

Mr. Lemo also said that the contract for the printing of higher denomination notes has been awarded to a foreign company due to the low capacity of the Nigerian Printing and Minting Company.

Nigeria’s conversion to polymer notes had been engulfed in crisis from the onset.

Officials of Securrency, the Australian firm that got the contract to print the polymer notes, during the tenure of Chukwuma Soludo as Central Bank Governor, allegedly paid millions of dollars as bribe to top Nigerian officials for the contract.

Nigeria’s anti-corruption agency is already investigating the corruption and has questioned Mr. Soludo and other senior finance officials in office during the contract award.