There are strong indications that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may seal an agreement with the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG) to undertake the printing of legal tender for The Gambia.
This followed a request by the CBG for a possible collaboration as it seeks to address acute currency shortages in the country, Arise TV reports.
The CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele who hinted this while receiving a delegation from the Central Bank of Gambia led by its Governor, Mr Buah Saidy, who are on a 2-day official visit, assured that the CBN has an extremely competitive advantage to manage the currency printing job for The Gambia.
He said the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc which was established in the early 1960s had been printing currency for the country, adding that the facility has a lot of idle capacity to satisfy the demand of the CBG.
Among other considerations, Saidy had informed the CBN governor that it is currently costly and unsustainable for the Gambia to continue to rely on its printer – De La Rue of London – for its currency needs.
He added that the distance coupled with some logistics and resource constraints had partly led to a current situation whereby the country had witnessed acute shortage of currency with the attendant implications for the economy.
Emefiele, nevertheless, said, “I note your point on currency management. The Nigerian mint was set up in the early 1960s and we’ve been producing our currency since the early 60s and we have a lot of idle capacity to ensure that instead of you going to Europe or other countries, you will be able to benefit from our ideas.
The CBG governor had further explained that it costs the bank about £70,000 to lift printed currencies from Sri Lanka to the Gambia.
He said: “We also need assistance in currency management. Right now we have a situation where we are running very low on currency and at some point I get scared because we cannot at the central bank run out of currency completely as that will be a disaster.
“So we want to learn from your estimate. We have a model but we have not looked at it yet – given to us by our printers – De La Rue. How they estimate the currency needs of the country on a yearly basis.
“But I think it has some defects otherwise, the acute shortage we have currently would not have happened.”
Saidy further said, “We placed an order for three years of currency to be printed but again, the contract with De La Rue since independence they have been printing our currency.
“Yesterday in my interaction with the Deputy Governor, Mr. Kingsley Obiora, we realised that you print your own currency and I asked about security and he assured me that you have top of the line security features.
“So this is another area I would want us to exchange ideas and have discussions on how possibly if we decide to go with you we can collaborate with your assistance to be printing our currency.”
He said: “Again, it is closer, De La Rue is in London but they do the printing in Malta and also Sri Lanka. The last one was done in Sri Lanka.
“Lifting those things all the way to the Gambia is costly because we had to do some emergency order and that cost was going to be on CBG but with negotiations and assuming then that we will give them this contract of three years of printing our currency, they now paid for the flight – about £70,000 to lift those currencies to the Gambia“.
He also said the CBG was in the country to benefit from the CBN’s vast experiences on how it had successfully regulated the financial system and sought assistance in the areas of information technology, modernisation, cybersecurity, forex shipping and management, among others.