The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has disclosed that N500 and N1000 notes were the most counterfeited naira notes in 2018. The apex bank made this disclosure in the 2018 annual report released by its Currency Operations Department.
According to the CBN currency department, N500 and N1000 denominations were the most commonly counterfeited banknotes in 2018, and both notes accounted for 65.29% and 34.49% respectively of the total counterfeit notes.
The details: According to the report, the counterfeit notes recorded during the year under review were mostly from four (4) sources, namely: Security Agencies, Deposit Money Banks (DMBs), CBN’s 24 processing centres and BWH PLC.
It was disclosed that the ratio of counterfeit notes to the volume of banknotes in circulation has been on the increase. Basically, the ratio of counterfeit notes to volume of banknotes in circulation rose to 18 pieces per million, compared to 16 pieces per million banknotes discovered in 2017.
Following this, the CBN destroyed N98.82 million counterfeit notes. According to the CBN report, a total of 119,663 pieces of counterfeit notes with a nominal value of N98.82 million was recorded in 2018. This means an increase of 1.30% in volume and 5.77% in value compared to 118,126 pieces with a nominal value of N93.43 million recorded in 2017.
According to the CBN, “The increasing trend of counterfeiting of higher denomination banknotes underscores the need for more concerted efforts in managing the risk. The Bank would, however, sustain its publicity campaign, collaborative efforts with security agencies and collation of data on counterfeits, to mitigate the incidences of counterfeiting.”
“Meanwhile, to maintain the integrity of the banknotes in circulation, the currency department continued to intensify its efforts at mitigating the incidences of counterfeiting activities during the period under review.”
The latest disclosure on fake banknotes further suggests that counterfeit or fake banknotes still remain a challenge in Nigeria’s financial sector. Earlier in January 2019, the CBN released a circular to all DMBs on ‘Penalty for payment of counterfeit notes from ATMs, Teller Points’.
In the circular, the CBN made known that it had imposed a penalty fee of N1 million on each branch of DMBs for non-compliance with its ‘Banknote fitness guidelines and clean note policy documents for the industry.’
In the meantime, it remains unclear if the CBN has effectively begun the imposition of the penalty on banks over fake banknotes.