Quick thoughts on the new currency series.
First the new N5000 note. Think about how much you had in your wallet in 2005. The number of notes you needed to get by everyday in 2005. Now think about how much you need to have in your wallet to get through today. I bet your wallets are a lot fatter even though you may not be necessarily richer. The fact is with inflation at about 10% every year you need about twice as many notes than you did in 2005. Its easier on every one from people to businesses to banks to push fewer notes with the same value. A N5000 note makes things easier for everybody. Certainly a lot easier than taping 5 N1000 notes together. Will the new bill make things more expensive? Probably just as much as exchanging 5 N100 notes for 1 N500 note does. Doesn’t make a difference unless you are at a wedding.
Bottom line is as long as we have inflation of around 10% a year then we will need higher denominated currencies every few years and maybe even a currency re denomination at some point. The cashless policy might make all this redundant but that hasn’t really taken off yet.
Will the new bill promote corruption by making it easier to move cash around? It will certainly increase the amount of money that can be hidden in caps. I don’t think it will make a difference though. Corruption has already mostly gone cashless.
Second thing is the redesign of the old bills. This is a pure security measure, I think. You always want to stay one step ahead of counterfeiters. It is a smart thing to redesign the currency every few years. The $20 bill is tweaked every 7 – 10 years for the same reason. Nothing to worry about here.
Finally the coins. I do not understand the logic here. Nigerians do not like coins. Coins have not been successful since… Perhaps it is an admission that anything below N20 is useless. Even the police do not accept N20 bribes any more. If it is useless then it might as well be fazed out. There is still technically a N1 coin after all. Will this also nudge prices higher? I don’t think so.
Overall there is nothing to criticize here ( sorry twitter folks). Perhaps we can argue about who should be on the N5000. Margaret Ekpo? Just put Don Jazzy on the bill and get it over with. I joke.