Abuja- The Central Bank of Nigeria is to stop the printing of lower denominations of the naira in polymer because it fades, the he Deputy Governor, Operations, Tunde Lemo, said.
Lemo made the plan known in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday at the ongoing Spring Meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington DC.
``By the middle of the year, we will start producing the lower denomination notes in paper not in polymer.
``My plea is that Nigerians should be patient with us. It wasn’t the fault of the CBN, it is just because we have to go back to the drawing board.
``We will correct that in the course of the year. Polymer certainly will be phased out. In fact, no new note is being printed in polymer now,’’ he said.
Lemo said the apex bank had, while introducing polymer notes, conducted endurance test, which showed that it lasted longer than paper substrate.
`` So, part of the project cure is to move away from polymer substrate to paper. Unfortunately, we had a push back because of the issues around the N5 000 note and coins.
``The entire programme was put in abeyance, otherwise by now, we would have stopped producing polymer,’’ he added.
He said CBN had awarded contract for the printing of the higher denomination notes to a foreign company because of the capacity issue around the mint.
According to him, the apex bank will, from June, take delivery of the new notes.
Commenting on the handling of the naira, Lemo said that it was unfortunate that the campaign against its mishandling was not successful.
He, however, said that it was still a criminal act to abuse naira notes.
``Unfortunately, CBN is not a law enforcement agency; we left that in the hands of the law enforcement institutions.
`` I still go to parties and see people spraying money, stepping on money, I see touts distributing mints that should go to customers,’’ Lemo said.
He said the apex bank had talked to the police to reduce the abuse of the naira, adding that the bank had no right to arrest people who sold naira notes on the street .