CBN to fine banks N1m for issuing counterfeit notes

Emefiele

The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has rolled out a clean note policy and banknote fitness guidelines and plans to mop up all the mutilated naira notes in circulation in the country soon.

Priscilla Eleje, director, Currency Operations, CBN, while unveiling the Clean Note Policy and the Banknote Fitness Guidelines in Lagos, on April 30, said the CBN would impose a N1 million fine on any bank found to have issued counterfeit naira notes to its customers.

“We are coming out very soon with a policy, a plan, a programme for us to withdraw mutilated notes from circulation. Once we are done with that, we will give a time frame within which banks will bring all those terrible notes, over-circulated notes in your vaults.”

She urged banks not to reject mutilated notes from their customers but collect them and  bring them to the CBN when the mop exercise begins.

“Please, don’t reject mutilated notes when you customers give them to you. We will try and do it in a way that you will be happy to give them to us. The details we will pass up to the banks later. We will encourage you to bring them (the old notes), that is a promise.”

Earlier, Godwin Emefiele, governor of CBN,  said: “It is expected therefore, that more private sector participation in the currency management value chain would further strengthen the efforts toward ensuring availability of clean banknotes”.

Stating the importance of the Clean Note Policy and the Banknote Fitness guidelines,Emefiele said: “Currency management is vital to our daily lives because despite the improvements in electronic payments system, banknotes remain predominant for payment and settlement of commercial transactions in Nigeria.

“The effective use of these documents by relevant stakeholders would ensure that banknotes in circulation are clean and of high quality. These characteristics are key to sustaining public confidence in the national currency.”

Ade Shonubi, deputy governor, Operations, who represented Emefiele, said that the CBN in its bid to promote effective and efficient currency management in Nigeria, registered eight firms to carry out cash-in-transit companies, CITs, and two cash processing companies, CPCs, to operate in Nigeria.

He stressed that banks are expected to patronise only registered companies for CIT and sorting services.

The CBN as part of its effort towards devolving the retail cash management to the private sector has approved the revised guidelines for registration of CIT/CPCs.

These guidelines provide for the operation of CITs and CPCs at both national and regional levels.

This would likely encourage unregistered companies to come under the regulatory purview of the Central Bank and ensure a nationwide coverage of these services.