Although the highest currency note in the United States is one hundred dollars, Dr. Doyin Okupe has stated that the U.S has one thousand dollars note, therefore, Nigeria should introduce N5,000.00 note. The Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, said this in response to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s criticism of the proposed N5000 note.
“There is $1000 bill in the United States and that has not negatively affected the economy there. It is not carried by all Americans, but by those who need it. The N5000 note will also be like that. We should not dissipate energy on that,” he said.
The truth is, the U.S once had ten thousand dollars note, but it discontinued the distribution of all currencies higher than one hundred dollars in 1945 to combat money laundering by organized criminals as well as inflation.
The base currency of the United States is the U.S. dollar, and is printed on bills in denominations of $1, $2, $5, $10, $20, $50, and $100. At one time, however, U.S. currency included five larger denominations. Notes in the denominations of $500, $1,000, $5,000, $10,000 were printed for general use, and a $100,000 note was printed for certain internal transactions.
In US, high-denomination bills were last printed in 1945 and officially discontinued on July 14, 1969, by the Federal Reserve System.
Okupe’s response is coming after Obasanjo last Thursday said the N5000 denomination would kill production and affect small businesses negatively.
Okupe, a one-time spokesman for the Obasanjo presidency, said, “Obasanjo is an ordinary citizen. He has the right to speak on issues of national importance, but his views are not sacrosanct. But Obasanjo has right to his own opinion.”
The presidential aide said the Federal Government was right to approve the denomination.
He also denounced criticisms by opposition parties that the introduction of the higher denomination would lead to inflation.
Okupe, a medical doctor, turned, politician, said there was no need to argue over the issue, adding that with his interaction with experts, there was no guarantee that the new note, when introduced, would either lead to inflation or affect production.
He said, “It is a project of the Central Bank of Nigeria and it is also important to carry people along. From my investigation and discussion with experts, there is no assurance that it will lead to inflation.
“We over-politicise issues in this country. This note will not affect the cashless policy of the government as being speculated in some quarters as well.”
He also spoke on the criticisms over Jonathan’s penchant for committees, saying the President was fond of setting up committees in order not to arrogate power and knowledge to himself (Jonathan) alone.
Okupe, however, assured that the reports of all the committees and sub-committees set up by his boss in the past would be made public to Nigerians soon.