Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) will stop printing the naira in polymer notes by the middle of the year because they fade quickly, its deputy governor Tunde Lemo has said.
“By the middle of the year, we will start to produce the second generation of lower denomination notes, now in paper not in polymer,” he said yesterday in Washington on the sideline of the ongoing Spring Meeting of the World Bank and the IMF.
“My plea is that Nigerians should exercise patience with us; it wasn’t the fault of the CBN, it was just because we had to go back to the drawing board to rethink ‘Project Cure’ in the light of the wish of the public that we should not go ahead with the N5000 notes and lower denomination.
“We will correct that in the course of the year. Polymer certainly will be phased out. In fact, we are phasing out polymer. No new note is being printed in polymer now.”
Lemo disclosed that when the CBN was going to introduce the polymer currencies, its search showed that they could last longer than ordinary paper notes.
“So, part of `Project cure’ actually was actually to move away from polymer substrate to paper, unfortunately we had a push-back because of the issues around N5000 note and coins. The entire program was put in abeyance, otherwise by now we should have stopped producing polymer,” he said.
Lemo said the CBN had awarded a contract for the printing of the higher denomination notes to a foreign company because of low capacity at the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company.
He said the CBN would begin to receive the fresh notes from June.