Nigeria launches new banknotes to help curb corruption


Regulators have said January 31 is the deadline for old notes to either be used or deposited at banks.

Nigeria has launched newly designed currency notes, a move that the West African nation’s central bank says will help curb inflation and money laundering.

Experts, however, are skeptical about such results in a country that has battled chronic corruption for decades, with government officials known to loot public funds causing more hardship for the many struggling with poverty.

Launched on Wednesday, the new denominations of 200 ($0.46), 500 ($1.15) and 1,000 naira ($2.30) are the first time Nigeria’s currency has been redesigned in 19 years. The banknotes will be in circulation by mid-December.

The naira is “long overdue for a new look,” Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said at the launch. The new paper notes designed in Nigeria and featuring enhanced security “will help the central bank to design and implement better monetary policy objectives”.

More than 80 percent of the 3.2 trillion naira ($7.2bn) in circulation in Nigeria are outside the vaults of commercial banks and in private hands, said Godwin Emefiele, the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

With inflation at a 17-year high of 21.09 percent that is driven by soaring food prices, he said the new notes “will bring the hoarded currencies back into the banking system” and help the central bank regain control of the money being used in the country.


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