Abuja - The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said on Thursday that it would introduce a single N5 000 note and reduce existing N5, N10 and N20 notes to coins by early 2013.
CBN Gov. Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, who made this known at a news conference in Abuja, said the notes and coins were being introduced under the bank’s currency restructuring exercise tagged 'Project Cure'.
He said that three women involved in the independence struggle in the country had been nominated to be in the new N5,000 note.
They are Margret Ekpo, and Funmilayo Ransome Kuti and HajiaGambo Sawaba.
"On Nov. 28, 2011, the CBN board considered and approved the new currency series. It subsequently sought and on Dec. 19, 2011 obtained the approval of the President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan.
"Under the new structure, the existing denominations of N50, N100, N200, N500 and N1 000 will be redesigned with added new security features.
"It is our pleasure to inform you that a new high currency denomination will be introduced. It is the N5 000 note," he said.
Sanusi said the naira currency structure would now be six coins and six banknote denominations.
The coins he said would include 50k, N1, N2, N5,N10 and N20, while the bank notes would be N50, N100, N200, N500, N1 000 and N5 000.
He said that efforts were being made to ensure that the redesigned N50 and N5 000 would be launched early in 2013.
Sanusi allayed fears that the introduction of the N5,000 note would not cause any inflation in the economy as had been argued by some people.
"Inflation in Nigeria is a monetary phenomenon. Secondly, in some countries such as Singapore, Germany and Japan, the highest denominations are 10 000SGD, 500 Euros and Yen 10 000 respectively.
"These denominations have relatively high dollar equivalent. The levels of inflations are, however, lower at 2.8, 1.1 and -0.7 as at 2012," he said.
Sanusi said it was the apex bank’s belief that the introduction of a higher bill would complement the bank’s cashless policy as it would substantially reduce the volume of currency in circulation, in the long term.
He said the bank would liaise with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies, deposit money banks, road transport workers, market operators, small businesses, supermarkets and vendors among others, to encourage the use of coins.
"We will ensure that coins collection is convenient and the infrastructure readily assessable."
Sanusi said the introduction of the new currency series would be a gradual process as the banknotes would circulate simultaneously with the old series until they are fully withdrawn from circulation.
He said that there would be no urgent need for exchange of the old notes for the new banknotes by the general public, because "for as long as the old banknotes are in circulation, they remain legal tender".
Sanusi said the CBN Currency Operations Department, Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company PLC and competent international consultants would collaborate in designing the new currency.