Abuja - The Nigerian Security Printing & Minting (NSPM) Plc will begin printing of the planned N5,000 banknote by mid-2013, its Managing Director, Ehi’ E Okoyomon has said.
Also, the family of late Margaret Ekpo, one of the three women whose photographs are to appear on the N5, 000 banknote, has endorsed the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) currency overhaul plan.
Speaking yesterday at a conference and exhibition organised by the Association of African Banknotes & Security Documents Printers in Lagos, the NSPM boss explained that the apex bank has already given the firm a specimen of the proposed note. However, it was discovered that NSPM does not have the type of machine to print the new banknote because of a specialised feature included in it.
“The CBN has shown us the N5,000 design but there is a particular feature in the note that we do not have the machine to print at the moment. But I want to tell you that by mid- 2013, we will have the machine to print the note,” he said.
The N5,000 banknote billed to be introduced early next year, will be printed by a foreign company.
There had been public outcry against the introduction of the banknote, but this will not stop the CBN from introducing the currency as approval has been secured from President Goodluck Jonathan. It is the primary responsibility of the apex bank to effect changes in the nation’s currency with the approval of the President.
The higher denomination will be introduced alongside the new coins of N5, N10, and N20.
Okoyomon, explained that NSPM currently prints all Nigerian currencies at home, and would commence same for the proposed N5,000 note next year.
He refuted claims that the N5,000 note is ready and awaiting distribution, explaining that it is difficult to stop counterfeiting of currencies. He said the best option remains to move ahead of counterfeiters by adopting sophisticated technology in printing Nigerian currencies.
He said his firm receives several counterfeit bank notes seized and sent to it by the Police, State Security Service, Central Bank and other security agencies. The NSPM boss said high resolution machines are making digital counterfeiting easier hence, it was necessary for regulators to continually improve on the sophistications and technology used in note printing.
He said high security features have been added to the proposed N5,000 note to make to ensure that it is not counterfeited.
Meanwhile, the family of late Margaret Ekpo has endorsed the CBN currency overhaul plan.
Speaking to journalists at the weekend, Head of Ekpo’s Family, Bassey Ekpo, said the family feels very honoured and delighted that their grandmother is being honored.
Bassey, Ekpo’s first grandson and Deputy Manager, Well Operations Monitoring, Joint Venture Oil Operations, National Petroleum Investment Management Services (NAPIMS), said her grandmother would have been very pleased for the honour if she had been alive.
He said the Ekpo family never expected that government will give her this kind of honour, saying she made sacrifices for the development and unity of the country.
He said her contributions to the nation’s development and unity are still visible.
Bassey said Federal Government has now recognised her sacrifices, especially on women emancipation and the efforts are being rewarded.
“The family feels very honored. We are really very delighted that our grandmother is so honored. I want to use this opportunity to thank the President, Goodluck Jonathan, the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan, the CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi and all his team that made it possible,” he said.
He refused to be drawn on the technical details of whether the introduction of N5,000 was necessary at this time, arguing that he is an engineer, nor an Economist, arguing that such questions are better handled by experts in monetary, or economic policies.
He said his family approved of the three women- Margaret Ekpo, Olufunmilayo Ransome-Kuti and Gambo Sawaba, having their pictures on the proposed N5,000 banknote.