From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, AbujaPresident Muhammadu Buhari has said the new naira notes will address the issue of illicit financial flows, corruption, improve the economy and value of the Nigerian currency as well as help the Central Bank of Nigeria’s monetary policy initiative.Shortly before the commencement of the Federal Executive Council FEC) meeting, yesterday, he unveiled the redesigned N1,000, N500 and N200 notes.Buhari said the first set of currency which was printed locally by the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting (NSPM) Plc will prevent counterfeiting of the notes.“The new Naira banknotes have been fortified with security features that make them difficult to counterfeit.”He added that the new banknotes would help the apex bank design and implement better monetary policy objectives as well as enrich the collective memory of Nigeria’s heritage.President Buhari commended the CBN governor, Godwin Emefiele and his deputies for the initiative, while also thanking the Managing Director, Executive Directors and Staff of the NSPM “for working tirelessly with the apex bank to make the currency redesign a reality, and for printing the new Naira notes within a comparatively short time.”Acknowledging that international best practice requires central banks and national authorities to issue new or redesigned currency notes every five to eight years, the president noted that it was almost 20 years since the last major redesign of the country’s local currency was done.“This implies that the Naira is long overdue to wear a new look. A cycle of banknote redesign is generally aimed at achieving specific objectives, including but not limited to: improving security of banknotes, mitigating counterfeiting, preserving the collective national heritage, controlling currency in circulation, and reducing the overall cost of currency management.“As is known, our local laws – specifically the Central Bank of Nigeria Act of 2007 – grants the Central Bank of Nigeria the power to issue and redesign the Naira.“In line with this power, the Central Bank Governor approached me earlier in this year to seek my permission to embark on a currency redesign project. I considered all the facts and reasons presented before me by the Central Bank.“There was an urgent need to take control of currency in circulation and to address the hoarding of Naira banknotes outside the banking system, the shortage of clean and fit banknotes in circulation, and the increase in counterfeiting of high-denomination Naira banknotes. It is on this basis that I gave my approval for the redesign of the N200, N500 and N1,000 banknotes.“While this may not be apparent to many Nigerians, only 4 out of the 54 African countries print their currencies in their countries, and Nigeria is one. Hence, a majority of African countries print their currencies abroad and import them the way we import other goods.“That is why it is with immense pride that I announce to you that these redesigned currencies are locally produced right here in Nigeria by our Security Printing and Minting PLC.”The CBN Governor said it was a deliberate step to check corruption and counterfeiting of the notesHe said redesigning the banknotes was based on the fact that currency management has faced several daunting challenges that have continued to grow in scale and sophistication with attendant and unintended consequences for the integrity of both the CBN and the country.He added that previous efforts to redesign and re-issue new naira notes has been resisted by the political class.