Written by Sarah NEGEDU

Banks to pay N1m per branch for counterfeit, mutilated notes

In order to sustain public confidence in the national currency, the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has imposed a monetary sanction on banks that fail to adhere to its Banknote Fitness Guideline and Clean Note Policy documents for the industry.

When fully implemented, Deposit Money Banks will be fined N1million on each branch, for non-compliance to any of the guidelines.

CBN, in a circular to all DMBs on ‘Penalty for payment of counterfeit monies from ATMs, Teller Points’ said the enforcement of the sanction would take effect after the launch of the two policy documents at a date which would be communicated to all stakeholders.

It said, “The management of the CBN has observed with concern the incidences of counterfeits paid through some DMBs’ ATMs/Teller points. This situation has continued unabated despite moral suasion to the affected DMBs.

“To address this, among others, the CBN in collaboration with key currency management stakeholders developed ‘Banknote fitness guidelines and clean note policy documents for the industry.”

The apex bank said it has approved the, “Spot checks on DMBs’ ATMs and Teller points to ensure compliance; and imposition of penal fee of N1m per branch of DMBs for non-compliance.”

According to the CBN, the objective of a banknote fitness standard, is to ensure that banknotes meet the expectation of the public in terms of cleanliness and appearance. The document also seeks to ensure that basic security features on the Banknote remain visible and are easily recognized by the public to deter counterfeiting and facilitate automated dispensing, counting and sorting of bank notes.

In another development, the CBN constructed and donated a world-class Post-Graduate Centre of Excellence to the Enugu Campus of the University of Nigeria, so as to grow the human capacity needed in the financial services sub-sector.

President Muhammadu Buhari, while cutting the ceremonial tape, lauded the bank for making huge investments for the overall development of the country.

Buhari said the construction of the project by the CBN also underscored the Federal Government’s commitment to provide a conducive environment for learning at all levels of education.

Earlier in his welcome remarks, the Governor of the CBN, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, said the project was mainly to ensure that students at post-graduate levels in Economics, Accounting, Banking and Finance, Business Administration and Statistics study in a serene environment that would stimulate effective learning with a view to building human capacity for the financial services sub-sector.

He disclosed that the project, which was the product of a N10 billion Endowment Fund instituted in 2006 that has grown to over N23 billion, also aimed at checking brain drain as well a strain on the country’s foreign reserve used for funding educational pursuits abroad.

Emefiele further disclosed that the centre of excellence would also enter into collaborative studies with Ivy League institutions in the United States and Europe in order to attract the best brains in Finance, Accountancy and Economics.

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