Deputy Governor, Operations, Mr Tunde Lemo, said the apex bank had earlier announced its decision to move the local currency from polymer back to paper, but disclosed that all the notes in circulation would not be withdrawn at the same time.
“Nigerians will be having new generation notes in paper in the next few months. We will wait until the notes wear tear. When they wear, and they travel back to Central Bank, of course they will be re-issued,” he stated.
According to him, the life cycle of a note in Nigeria is between six months and a year and if CBN took that decision six months ago, “I reckon that in the next three to six months, you will begin to see these denominations re-appear in paper.”
He said that, the Central Bank would have started producing the lower denomination notes in paper by the middle of last year, but due to logistics challenges, the plan was not accomplished.
“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,” said Lemo.
On the scarcity of the lower denomination notes, Lemo blamed inflation and commercial banks for what he called “low transactionary value” and “poor circulation,” respectively.
“For the lower denomination, well, I think the banks are really the ones that are really not allowing the lower denomination in circulation, largely, because of the cost and carrying value.
“Most people don’t require small denomination. But for buying things in the market, if you look at the veracity, you find out that it is the people that are losing interest because of its bulkiness and inflation,” he said.
Lemo said this should be done to ensure effective protection of the currency from abuse.