Under the colonial rule, local currencies which include
coins were issued, this was to further ensure a balance in the currency
structure and unit of accounts as well as ease transactions, punishing those
who refused to use them. It wasn’t until the 1991 currency re-structuring that
people’s attitudes and acceptance of the coin began to gradually change, when
the then military administration issued a new N50 bank note and turned 50 Kobo
and 1 naira bank notes into coins. Many Nigerians saw it as an attempt to make
the lower denomination unsuitable for transaction.
No Society can do without coins because of its role in
facilitation of transactions, the coins reduced the tendency to approximate
transactions to the nearest bank notes, it makes change available for daily
transactions, it was in the line of these that the Central Bank of Nigeria
(CBN) re-introduced the coins on February, 28th 2007, as part of the economic
reforms, N50, N20,N10 and N5 bank notes as well as N1 and 50 Kobo coins were
re-issued with new designs, while a new N2 coin was introduced.
Also read: CBN to circulate new coins alongside old notes
The CBN directed that all banks should pay two (2) percent
of all withdrawals in coins, this means for instance, if a customer was
withdrawing N20,000 from his bank account, he has to go home with coins worth
N400 to spend. The same CBN directed the banks not to accept coins as deposits
from the public until further notice, giving reasons that the coins needed to
be kept in circulation for sometime. Before the re-introduction of coins, goods
were priced in multiples of fives because of the dearth of coins and this
affected price levels greatly, no goods could be bought for N1 because no such
denomination existed, so prices of the lowest- priced goods were raised to N5
and N10. Unfortunately and sadly, we are back to that situation.
The coin has suffered untold rejection and abuse from the
public because Nigerians are not better educated and enlightened on the need to
have it in circulation. The situation whereby the naira notes have been turned
into writing sheets, even by those working in the bank, stained by meat
sellers and squeezed by buses and taxi driver has worsen the battered naira and
hence the need for the use of coins to be enforced.
Also read: Couple finds gold coins worth millions buried in yard
If developed countries like the USA and China use the coin
for their daily transactions, then it shows its importance and advantages to
the economy. As a matter of urgency the CBN should send a bill to the national
assembly to be passed into law, this bill should criminalize rejection and any
form of abuse of the coin and a minimum sentence of six months imprisonment
with an option of a fine should be enacted. Furthermore, like it is done in China
and the USA, the government should designate some business places and
establishments as no banknote-for-transaction, places like Post Offices, toll-gates,
licensing offices, school business centers, lottery centres, cinemas e.t.c
should only transact in coins. Those are ways by which the government can
intensify the campaign for the use of coins in all transactions so that the
unemployed and poor Nigerians can survive.
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