From Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
The former Managing Director, Nigeria Security and Minting, Abbas Umar Masanawa, who is one of the gubernatorial aspirants of Katsina State, has disclosed that he has complied with the presidential directive and resigned.
Fielding questions from some journalists in Abuja, when asked if he has adhered to the directives, he said: “Absolutely, I have abided completely with the presidential directive. And I’ve resigned my appointment as the managing director, and chief executive of Nigeria Security, Printing and Minting. I sent in my resignation through the chairman of the board, who also happens to be the governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria.”
President Buhari had through the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, directed all ministers and political appointees contesting for various elective positions to resign from their appointments on or before Monday, May 16, 2022.
Asked if he has personally informed President Buhari of his intentions, he said: “Yes through my immediate boss, who is the Central Bank of Nigeria. The governor of the central bank is the chairman of the board of Nigeria security, printing and minting. I have surely done that.”
Speaking on his achievements at Mint, Masanawa said he met a moribund company, that was almost dead but was able to achieve the three mandates of President Buhari 100 per cent, including attainment of zero importation of the country’s currencies.
“Our mandate was to see how we can reposition Mint towards four key mandates. Number one, to enhance profit generation. The company was making heavy losses before we took over. Second, enhance the production capacity of Nigeria’s security, printing and minting because when we took over more than 50 per cent of Nigerian currency was printed outside the shores of Nigeria.
“And our core mandate was to ensure we achieve zero importation of currency, that is printing our currency in Nigeria. Thirdly, to enhance the welfare of our staff, because human capital is the most important asset in any organization. So if the people are not happy, they cannot give you their best.
“So these were the core mandates that we were given. And without being immodest, we have almost 100 per cent achieved all those mandates. As I’m talking, I can beat my chest and say 100 per cent of Nigeria’s currency is being handled by Nigeria Security, Printing and Minting. That is the first time since 2014. And even when I was being screened by the screening committee of All Progressive Congress (APC), I was asked where I worked last, and I mentioned Mint. And one of the panellists said what have we achieved when our currency was still being imported outside the shores of Nigeria.
“So after I was screened I was given the opportunity to say anything I wanted to say. So I said, I believe that this is one of the most fundamental reforms that the Buhari administration has done and nobody is saying anything about it.
“As of today, we have achieved zero importation of currency into Nigeria. We don’t print one single kobo outside the shores of Nigeria anymore. We have two complexes, one in Abuja and another one on the island in Lagos. And we have even achieved full flexibility.
“When we came in most of the currencies were either printed in Lagos or Abuja, but as I’m talking to you now, all the denominations including the polymer notes, 5, 10, 20, 50 and the paper notes – 100, 200, 500,1000 Naira, we can now print either in our Lagos or Abuja factory. So in case, there is anything, you can do troubleshooting, you can print our currency in Abuja, you can print the currency in Lagos, and I mean all denominations, every single thing. And there’s a fundamental revolution by the Buhari administration because that was the mandate given to us and we were able to achieve that.”
On the benefit of achieving zero importation, he said: “Number one, the issue of conserving forex, because we used to use a lot of our hard-earned resources, foreign exchange to import these currencies but now we don’t do that. Two, we generate revenue for the company. As I told you earlier, Mint was moribund when we came on board. They were making losses, then there was no TSA, they had their accounts in commercial banks and sometimes they had to go to commercial banks to borrow to pay the salaries of their staff. But we eliminated that and now it is a huge profit-making company.
“I am bold to say the Nigerian Security, Printing and Minting, as a government institution, is one of the most profitable and the most efficient institutions we have in Nigeria today and that you can easily find out. And then, of course, we are able to generate employment because if we are able to print our own money, we can generate employment for our people.
“As I’m talking to you now we have a staff strength of 1,000 and there’s no single foreigner, no expatriate. All the people we have in Mint both in Lagos and Abuja are locals from Akwa Ibom, Warri, Lagos, Ondo, Osun, Anambra, Abuja, Kaduna, Katsina, Sokoto and Maiduguri. Both those who print the currency and even those that maintain the machine.
“And that’s why even during the COVID we never had challenges. We never needed to bring expatriates outside the country to come and maintain our machines because our local engineers have developed enough capacity to be able to repair our machines.
And then lastly, of course, capacity building. So our people are the ones maintaining our heavy equipment. So these are fundamental achievements that have been achieved by attaining zero importation of our currencies.”