By Daniel Idonor
ABUJA— PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan, yesterday, commended the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, for stimulating growth of the Nigerian economy even as former President Olusegun Obasanjo said that Nigeria has a lot to celebrate at its 50th independence anniversary because the country is ‘God’s work in progress.’
President Jonathan who formally introduced the N50 note and gold coins to the economy, in commemoration of the country’s independence anniversary, applauded the management of CBN for being at the centre of the development of the country stressing that the “apex bank of any nation is always at the vanguard of the economic development of that country.”
The new N50 note is not different from the current one in circulation except for the superimposed 50th Anniversary logo, a gold iridescent band, and a goodwill message written in varnish. Both notes would circulate side by side while the commemorative coins are in 22 carat gold.
The President who urged the CBN to consolidate on the economic gains so far recorded by the country, expressed the Federal Government’s support for the current financial sector reforms been carried out by the apex bank, the president.
Earlier, the CBN Governor, Lamido Sanusi, said the bank was working on new proposals to reintroduce coins into the economy, adding: “We will soon unfold proposals that should mark the beginning of the return of coins into circulation in the economy”.
Sanusi said the CBN had evolved plans that would enhance the efficiency and self reliance of Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company, NSMPC, with a view to improving its performance in note printing, adding: “Our obligation is to achieve self sufficiency in the printing of notes. Furthermore, we are redesigning the Nigerian banknotes series to reduce costs and enhance security.”
Sanusi noted that since the first Nigerian currency, denominated in pound, ten shillings and five shillings were issued on July1, 1959, it had undergone various transformations as the CBN evolved and as the nation’s circumstances improved.
He added: “For instance, on July 1, 1965, the first series of banknotes were replaced with new banknotes, to commemorate the republic status of the country.
Thereafter, in 1968, the bank issued a new set of banknotes to forestall the usage of illegally withdrawn notes from CBN Enugu, Port Harcourt and Benin branches during the civil war.
“With the adoption of decimalization in 1973, a new series of notes was introduced in naira and kobo. The new currency was in denominations of tennaira, five naira, one naira, fifty kobo notes as well as twenty five kobo, ten kobo, five kobo, one kobo and half kobo.”