September 19, 2005
The Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc (NSPM) has reported a 30 per cent rise in the production of currency notes and other security documents since a new management took over control of the company in June. Mr Emmanuel Okoyomon, chief executive officer, said by October 800 billion bank notes would have been produced at the company\'s factories in Lagos and Abuja.
Okoyomon, who spoke to newsmen in Lagos on the current reform to reposition the company, said the ultimate goal is to achieve 100 per cent local production of the naira and end the importation of the local currency by January 2007. Explaining that the reform will require job cuts, he said more than 33 per cent of the current workforce of 1800 or 600 employees will be fired in a bid to right size the currency printer.
He said the retrenchment will affect all departments of the company.
Okoyomon sought to lessen the fear the sack notice could instil in his workers by giving the assurance that those that will lose their jobs will be generously compensated and retrained for life in retirement and alternative employment. By the time it has run its course, he said, the reform will have injected N17.5 billion in private funding into the
Mint, and repositioned the company on a footing that compares with the best currency printer in the world.
Okoyomon said once it is successfully re-engineered with a workforce of the right fit, required technology upgrade, efficient processes and structures, the Mint would be in a position to meet cheque printing needs of Nigerian banks, examination documents for different examiners in the country and security printing requirements for West and parts of Central Africa.
He is upbeat about the company\'s prospects. He said because efficiency is improving along with capacity, the Mint looks a better bet for jobs few would have considered the company for in the past. New jobs that the company could clinch because of its improved circumstances include the 5.5 million electronic passports being planned by the federal government, security documents such as ballot papers for the Independent Electoral Commission and other security documents for the population commission.
Okoyomon said the Mint is working with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and the Bankers\' Committee to adopt a standard for Nigerian cheques, ahead of plan to ensure that local banks meet their cheque printing needs at the Mint.
The CBN took control of the Mint last year by acquiring 77 per cent of its equity in a special mandate to reform and turnaround the company. The Federal Ministry of Finance Incorporated owns 20 per cent of the Mint, while DeLa Rue holds the remaining three per cent.