As Gambia battles currency shortages, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, is preparing to help the country overcome the challenges.
The CBN, Governor, Godwin Emefiele, hinted that the Bank might undertake to print legal tender for the Central Bank of Gambia (CBG).
The CBG has requested for a partnership with the CBN to address the issue of acute currency shortages amongst other currency challenges in The Gambia.
Emefiele, disclosed his 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.
Emefiele, while receiving the delegation, assured that the CBN has an extremely competitive advantage to manage the currency printing job for The Gambia.
He pointed out that 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.
Saidy, said Gambia relies on its printer, De La Rue of London, for its currency needs, which is becoming expensive and unsustainable.
He added that the distance coupled with some logistics and resource constraints had partly led to the current situation where the country witnessed a shortage of currency notes with attendant implications for the economy.
In his remarks, Emefiele, 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.
Our colleagues will take you to the security printing facility. Our colleagues that came in from Liberia two months ago were fascinated by the kind of facilities, we have at our Nigerian security printing and minting facility and I am sure that you will also enjoy them.
And I am sure they will follow you back to the Gambia to see how they can help you to structure your economic order quantities so we can also be of assistance in printing your currency.
And I can assure you that we can be extremely competitive if only from the standpoint of logistics and freight from Europe but it’s just going to be a few hours from here to the Gambia and the rest of them.”
Saidy, 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 need of the country on yearly basis.
But I think it has some defects otherwise, the acute shortage we have currently would not have happened.
The CBG Governor 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 realise 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.”