Nigeria Security Printing and Minting plc (NSPM) has not printed the small naira denominations for about a year, causing the scarcity of the notes in the economy, the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) said.
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said that for a year now, it did not award contract for the printing of the notes, such as N5, N10, N20 and N50, which are usually done abroad, adding that the recently printed notes in circulation -N200, N500 and N1,000, were produced by the NSPM.
The NSPM produces currency notes and coins for the CBN and a wide range of security documents for the federal, state and local government establishments, commercial banks and blue chip companies.
According to the NSPM website, the company has the ability to print over 40 million notes weekly.
However, the sources said the high cost of printing banknotes was the reason the apex bank did not give contracts for their production.
“The cost of printing N50 is almost the same as N1,000. Printing small denominations costs more than the value and with the present economic situation, it makes sense to print higher notes which can be done locally by NSPM.
A worker at the First Bank Plc, disclosed that throughout the 2016 festive seasons, there were hardly smaller currency notes to give to customers.
“We usually request for cash from the CBN through our Cash Management Centre, but recently, we have not been able to get mints of N100 and below. “We had N50 at one point but it wasn’t in the quantity we are used to getting. We have been telling our customers who call to request for mints that the smallest currencies they can get is N200,” the worker said.
A Political Economist, Jude Ndukwe, a said the implication of the situation was that prices of goods were likely to increase since there were no smaller currencies in circulation. “A bread seller is likely to increase the cost of bread from N350 to N400 simply because he does not want to deal with the difficult task of getting change.
But Isaac Okorafor, CBN Acting Director, Corporate Communications, denied the allegation that the apex bank had not contracted the printing of smaller denomination currencies since 2015.