Less than one per cent of Naira notes are fake – CBN

Chidi Samuel

Contrary to the claim by a former Deputy Governor of  Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, Dr Obadiah Mailafia that 20 percent of the currency in circulation nationwide is fake, the CBN has said that the amount of counterfeit notes in Nigeria from January to December 2016 was less than one per cent of the total.

Dr Mailafia made the claim on Monday at the public hearing on the 2017 budget at the National Assembly.

He said, “Twenty percent of currency circulating in Nigeria is fake; you can’t bring down food prices if you have fake currency circulating.”

However, in a statement on Tuesday, Isaac Okorafor, CBN’s Director of Corporate Communications, refuted the claims, noting that the less than one per cent rate represents 0.0014 per cent or 14 counterfeit pieces out of one million bank notes.

According to Okorafor, “While we acknowledge that no currency in the world is immune from counterfeiting, we make bold to state that the rate of counterfeiting in Nigeria has been very minimal due to appropriate policies put in place by the Bank.”

See also  Why pharmaceutical multinationals left Nigeria - PMG-MAN

“Indeed, our records at the Bank clearly indicate that the prevalence of counterfeit notes in Nigeria from January to December 2016 was LESS THAN ONE PER CENT (0.0014 per cent) or 14 counterfeit pieces out of one million bank notes.”

“We therefore find it rather curious that a former high ranking official of the CBN would make such bogus and unauthentic claims apparently calculated to destroy confidence in our national currency and sabotage the collaborative efforts of the CBN and the Federal Government at ensuring enduring stability of the financial system.

“The unfortunate implication of the fabricated claim of the said former official of the Bank, is that it gives the false impression that two bills out of every ten Naira pieces held by an individual is ‘fake’.”

See also  Nigeria’s inflation rate surges to 34.19 % amid rising food cost

The Apex bank has therefore, challenged Dr Mailafia to come up with empirical evidences to the public in support of his claims, noting that the CBN frowns at attempt to counterfeit the naira.

The statement continued, “We therefore challenge the said former CBN official to make public the empirical evidence suggesting that 20 per cent Naira currency in circulation is fake.”

“For the avoidance of doubt, the CBN frowns strongly at attempts to counterfeit the Naira. We remain committed to safeguarding the value of the Naira by ensuring that our Naira banknotes are not susceptible to counterfeiting.

“We also work constantly with relevant security agencies to monitor and check the activities of counterfeiters.”

“Members of the public are therefore advised to disregard the false alarm raised by the said former CBN official, be wary of the activities of counterfeiters and report any case of counterfeiting to the police and their banks.”