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Business News of Saturday, 7 January 2023


Nigerians react after seeing and touching CBN's new Naira notes

New Naira notes New Naira notes

When the Central Bank of Nigeria decided to redesign some of Nigeria's naira notes, they most likely did not envisage the dissatisfaction that it was going to generate.

Even though some seem to be okay with the reasons for the new design and the eventual look, many seem to be totally unpleased with it.

In so many quarters, there have been allegations that the new naira notes fade when it comes in contact with water.

There have also arisen counter allegations by some Nigerians who have actually carried out the water test to reveal that the notes do not fade.

According to the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele, the apex bank which is saddled with the responsibility of issuing monetary policies took too long to redesign the naira notes. He said that ordinarily, this should be done after every 5-8 years.

Part of the reasons why the CBN felt the need to transit from old to new notes is to curb money laundering and inflation in the economy. Another reason for the redesign is to arrest the hoarding of naira notes by the public, as statistics had shown that 80% of the currency in circulation was outside banks' vaults.

However, the above reasons have generated both negative and positive reactions so far. Many Nigerians are yet to have access to the new notes even though they were reportedly forced into circulation on December 15, 2022, even as the CBN set a January 31, 2023 deadline for the depositing of the old notes with banks.

Since the unveiling of the new banknotes by President Muhammadu Buhari on November 23, 2022, reactions have trailed the move with many totally displeased with the design.

On social media, some commenters described the notes as a work of bad photoshop while others described them as a mere use of image filters. At the same time, some graphic designers went online to post their own creations of what they thought the new designs should have looked like. Quite a few of the designs were further celebrated on social media.

The reactions forced the CBN to insist that the public should be patient enough to physically see the new notes before condemning them. When the notes which were locally printed by the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting (NSPM) Plc eventually entered into circulation, the reactions did not quite change much.

Weeks after the new notes went into circulation, decided to sample the opinions of Nigerians on what they think about the notes now that they have seen and felt them.

Samson Idah, a civil servant told that he doesn't believe the new designs were well thought out before printing.

He said: I told myself I would not jump to a conclusion until I see the new notes. But now that I have seen them, I must say, I'm a bit disappointed. The old notes had better designs than the new ones. I don't think the designs went through some form of vetting before they were printed out. Adejoke Adebisi, a trader in Lagos, stated that though she has only seen the new N200 and N500 notes for now, she was not exactly pleased with the designs. She said.

I think the designs could have been better than these. It really just looks like a photo filter was just used on the old notes to produce the new notes.

Another respondent who spoke with said that he doesn't think the designs were bad. As much as he is concerned, Tony Ujah who works as an estate agent, says he is cool with it so long as it is accepted as a form of payment.

"I try not to be concerned with whether it looks good or bad. So long as it is accepted as a form of payment, I'm okay with it. The design is not what is important to me, but the value of what it can buy in the market. "

Bukky Oyewole, a fashion designer in Lagos stated that she is still trying to get used to identifying the original notes as she has heard of counterfeits circulating.

"I have seen like two denominations of the new naira notes. A customer paid with them but at first, I was skeptic about accepting them as I can't say for sure that I can recognise the genuity or counterfeit. I only accepted because it came from a trusted customer."