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Central Bank Of Nigeria Stipulates Fitness Standards For Fit And Unfit Banknotes Circulation.

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Last updated on August 3rd, 2021 at 07:33 am

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The Central Bank Of Nigeria has warned the nation’s banks against recirculation of unfit bank notes, saying that it would impose stringent penalties on any bank that goes against the stipulated standards.

The CBN made this public in the Banknotes guidelines issued yesterday alongside Clean Notes Policy. The documents were signed by Deputy Governor Operations, CBN, Folashodun Shonubi and Director Currency Operations Department Mrs. Priscilla E. Eleje. The guidelines described fit and unfit bank notes and also stated the Quality Standard for Nigerian bank notes. The guidelines states:

“A banknote that is suitable for continued circulation and is sufficiently clean to allow its authenticity and value to be readily ascertained”

“A banknote that is unsuitable for further circulation because of its physical condition, which may be soiled, dirty, limp, worn out, defaced or has a hole that is larger than 10 mm. Unfit notes should be returned to DMBs or a branch of the CBN anywhere in Nigeria for exchange.”

Making elaborate the purpose of the guidelines, the CBN stated:

“These guidelines provide the general public with clear, acceptable criteria and standards for determining the quality of banknotes in circulation”

Fitness standards to be followed had been stipulated for all denominations of the banknote. These standards serves as a benchmark and reference for evaluating banknotes in circulation.


The Fitness Standard criteria include: The durability and functionality of security features on the notes; Banknotes structure and durability; and Banknote quality i.e. printing and appearance of the banknotes (soiling/ink wear) etc.” The guidelines stipulates the criteria for re-circulating a bank note—it reads“A banknote is considered fit for recirculation if it meets the following criteria:-Genuine, not counterfeited; Has a defined and acceptable area dimension; Free from holes, tear, tape or missing part, folded portion, etc; Has uniform brightness and is not heavily soiled; Free from excessive ink wear, particularly in the portrait area; Free from defacing; Correct denomination, serial number details, etc; The series that has been approved for redistribution by the Bank. If any of these criteria are not met, a note can be classified as unfit and not standard enough for recirculation.” “To ensure that the banknotes in circulation are clean and of good quality, DMBs must make sure that they process their banknotes using registered processing companies and classify them into fit and unfit. “Any counterfeit notes discovered are to be returned to CBN. Only the banknotes which have been validated (i.e. verified for counterfeit and free from unfit notes according to CBN standard) should be issued over the counter by banks or through their cash dispensing machines. “Banknotes marked as Unfit are not be re-circulated by DMBs and CPCs.

However, a penalty charge of N12,000 per box, or any amount deemed fit by the Management of the Bank, shall apply for the deposit of unfit banknotes. In addition, penalties as may be deemed fit by the Bank, shall apply for the re-circulation of unfit banknotes

The following categories of machines must meet the rolled out Fitness Standards set by the Bank and be compliant to the requirements of the existing banknotes and the basic parameters and criteria set by the CBN from time to time.

The Bank shall ensure compliance to these standards: Desktop sorting machines with authentication sensors; Banknote validators; Medium speed note sorters; High speed sorters; Automated Teller Machines (ATMs).

The processing equipment would be in good condition, compliant to standards and confirmed by CBN to ensure uniformity and consistency with defined parameters.

“The Bank shall ensure that the Automated Teller Machines (ATMs) deployed by DMBs and other service providers are configured to dispense and accept only genuine banknotes in all denominations. “The ATMs shall dispense notes that have been duly checked for authenticity and fitness according to the Bank’s standard and operators whose ATMs contravene this provision shall be sanctioned according to section 20 of the CBN Act. Similarly, DMBs and service providers whose ATMs receive or dispense counterfeits or materials other than naira banknotes shall be liable according to section 20(4) of CBN Act 2007.”

Speaking On steps to be adhered to by stakeholders in the currency management system, the CBN said: “The quality of banknotes must be checked in the course of withdrawal by all the major cash handlers. “The DMBs and third party service providers are advised to adhere strictly to the provisions of the Guidelines as any violation would attract appropriate sanctions”
Read more at: Vanguard

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