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No, Nigeria’s central bank governor didn’t say shortage of redesigned naira banknotes was due to lack of printing paper

IN SHORT: The redesign of banknotes and resulting shortage of currency has caused a lot of anger in Nigeria. But the central bank says a social media claim that it doesn’t have enough printing paper is false.

Nigerians have been struggling with a shortage of redesigned new banknotes. The crisis even caused president Muhammadu Buhari to allow, on 16 February 2023, some of the old N200 notes to be released back into circulation. 

The shortage has led to riots in parts of the country. And three state governors have taken the federal government to court in an attempt to stop the new banknotes policy.

Against this backdrop, a claim that the shortage was due to the Central Bank of Nigeria not having “enough paper” to print the new currency is circulating on Facebook.

“Not enough paper to print new naira banknotes - CBN,” one post reads. It attributes the claim to central bank governor Godwin Emefiele.

Emefiele announced the introduction of the redesigned new naira notes in October 2022. The exercise is meant to replace the dirty cash in circulation, fight inflation, reduce counterfeiting and promote a cashless society, the BBC reports.

The claim can also be seen here and here on Facebook.

But did the central bank governor really blame the shortage of new banknotes on a lack of printing paper? We checked.


CBN denies false claim

The central bank has dismissed the claim, in a statement released on 10 February. 

“We wish to state categorically that at no time did the CBN Governor disclose this during his presentation to the National Council of State at its meeting on Friday, February 10, 2023.”

According to the statement, Emefiele only said that the Nigerian Mint, a government agency that produces currency and other security documents, had enough materials to meet demand. 

The bank also describes as misleading a voice message doing the rounds on social media that it would close some banks.

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