Story by Kayode Tokede
Over increased mop-up of access liquidity, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has said currency in circulation also called physical money declined by 4.6 per cent to N2.01 trillion in June 2019.
The apex bank on its official website noted that currency in circulation was N2.11 trillion in May from N2.16trillion reported in April this year.
For March, the CBN’s data on currency in circulation was N2.15trillion.
Findings by Nigerian NewsDirect revealed that N2.24trillion in February was the highest amount in circulation as finance experts attributed the increase to political spending towards March 2019 general election.
However, further checks revealed that currency in circulation started this year at N2.14 trillion after closing December 2018 at N2.33 trillion.
Finance experts have expressed that the CBN’s cashless policy has not yield must results, blaming it on infrastructure and stakeholders goodwill power to curb politicians carrying cash during or after elections.
The CBN governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele in his five-year policy thrust (2019-2024), said the apex bank “will reinvigorate our efforts at driving the cashless initiative across the country, due to the immense efficiency gains that will be derived from it, and the impact it could have on our financial inclusion drive.
“Given Nigeria’s large size, and the cost involved in building bank branches across the country, the payment department would support the spread and utilization of digital modes of transactions, so that every Nigerians will have access to financial services.
“A strong emphasis will also be placed on improving speed and efficiency of payments channels, while working to ensure that digital channels are safe and secure. This will help to build confidence in our nation’s payment system.
“In order to improve utilization rate, we will continue to ensure that payment channels are interoperable, which will enable individuals with digital devices to transact across different banks or payment modes.
“Through measures such as the cashless initiative, USSD, mobile banking agent networks and Payments Service Banks, Nigerians can expect to see significant improvement in the payment system infrastructure over the next five years.
“We will also work with NIBSS, Banks and FinTechs in developing a regulatory sandbox, This sandbox will enable us to test financial innovations by FinTechs and Banks in a controlled environment, in order to assess its impact on the growth and safety of our financial system.
Naira notes and coins are printed/minted by the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc (NSPM) Plc and other overseas printing/minting companies and issued by the CBN.
At the currency printing works of the NSPM Plc, quality is meticulously controlled throughout every process of currency production.
This guarantees that every note issued meets the required standard. The CBN maintains an office called Mint Inspectorate in the premises of the NSPM Plc to maintain security and quality of Naira notes and coins.
Currency is issued to deposit money banks through the branches of the CBN, and old notes retrieved through the same channel. Currency deposited in the CBN by the banks are processed and sorted to fit and unfit notes in line with the clean note policy. The clean notes are re-issued while the dirty notes are destroyed.