Senate probes scarcity of lower denominations of naira

By Edwin Akwueh, Abuja


Nigeria’s Senate joint Committee on Banking, Insurance and Financial Institutions has been mandated to investigate the rationale behind scarcity of lower naira denomination in the country.

The decision reached at Tuesday’s plenary, followed a motion sponsored by the Chairman of the Senate committee on Niger Delta, Senator Peter Nwaobosi, in which he stated that the lack of lower denomination was injurious to a country that has exited from recession.

Senator Nwaoboshi expressed concern that scarcity of lower denomination was also responsible for inflationary trends, arguing that the Central Bank of Nigeria has not printed denominations in the last one year.

He further sought Federal Governmnet’s action, noting that Nigeria was a developing nation that cannot do without availability of lower denominations in the economy.

“I am concerned that scarcity of 5, 10, 20, 50, 100 and 200 naira notes poses a threat to the economy of the nation, which is just recovering from recession, as it is worsening inflationary trends, with attendant consequences,” he stated.

Senator Albert Akpan while also contributing to the debate believed that 80% of the people living in rural areas depended heavily on lower denominations. He expressed shock that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) could not make lower denominations available, while there were higher denominations which services the elite.

In his contribution, Senator Samuel Anyanwu called for an end to the printing of polymer currency abroad, noting that Nigeria’s printing and minting company has the capacity to print domestically.

Solution to scarcity of currencies
He explained that the country would go down if urgent measures were not taken, adding that the lack of lower denominations often resulted to unwanted expenses.

Senator Ibrahim Gobir differed on his submission, stating that printing of lower denomination was not the solution. He emphasised that industrialisation of the economy would generate money to the grassroots level.

“Mr. President, distinguished colleagues, my presentation will be different in that what the country need as solution to scarcity of currencies is industrialisation of the economy. By doing so, money will naturally flow to the grassroots in their various currencies,” Senator Gobir submitted.

However, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu pointed that the haste with which African countries introduced higher denominations was also responsible for scarcity of lower denominations.

Senator Ekweremadu while refereeing the matter to the Senate joint Committee on Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions and Finance, he asked the Committee work assiduously and revert back to the Senate in four weeks time.


Lateefah Ibrahim