By Hilary Mare
A significant increase was recorded in the number of counterfeit banknotes detected in 2017 compared to 2016, the Bank of Namibia’s latest financial report reveals.
The total number of counterfeit Namibia Dollar banknotes detected in 2017 increased to 440 pieces, compared to 277 pieces recorded in 2016.
In the report, the bank reports that the N$200 banknote remains the most targeted denomination by the counterfeiters, accounting for 58.8 percent of total counterfeits detected in 2017.
Detected were two (N$10 notes), 24 (N$20 notes), 29 (N$50 notes), 81 (N$100 notes) and 259 (N$200 notes).
The total value of counterfeit notes detected was N$64100.
Subsequently however, as at 31 December 2017, the ratio of counterfeits per million in respect of all Namibia Dollar banknote denominations stood at nine pieces, which was well below the international benchmark of 70 banknotes per million.
“It is noteworthy that the nine pieces were also below the Bank’s own threshold of ten pieces per million banknotes. Although an increase was noted in the number of counterfeits detected, the Bank is not concerned given the poor quality of the said counterfeits.
“The Bank also continued to provide counterfeit training to various stakeholders in the cash industry. A total of 400 participants from the various law enforcement and retail sectors received counterfeit detection training during the period under review,” the bank explained.
On the other hand, the Bank observed a slight increase with regards to growth in the volume of total currency in circulation in 2017. The total volume of banknotes in circulation increased by 2.4 percent in 2017, or 50.5 million pieces, compared to the decrease of 1.9 percent (49.3 million pieces) recorded in 2016.
By the end of 2017, the volume of coins in circulation had increased by 6.1 percent compared to the 4.4 percent increase recorded for 2016. Negative growth of 11.3 percent was registered for the N$10 coin in 2017, compared to a growth of 5.9 percent recorded in 2016.
As at 31 December 2017, the total value of currency in circulation stood at N$4.7 billion, compared to N$4.4 billion for the preceding period. Thus, a positive annual growth rate of 6.0 percent was recorded in 2017, compared to the decrease of 2.6 percent noted in 2016.
“The increased growth in banknotes in 2017 in total was mainly a result of the increased issuance noted for the N$50 and N$200 denominations, namely 6.5 percent higher for the N$50 notes, and a significant rise of 11.5 percent for the N$200 notes. A slight reduction of 3.3 percent was noted on the issuance of the N$100 note. The N$100 and N$200 denominations remained the most widely circulated banknotes in 2017. In terms of coinage, the 5-cent piece remained the most popular among the coin series, recording a 10.0 percent increase in the value of coins in circulation in 2017, slightly higher than the 9.7 percent increase recorded for 2016,” the bank explained in the report.
The report also states that new banknotes to the value of N$2.4 billion were issued, compared to the N$2.6 billion issued in 2016. The 7.7 percent decrease in the issuance of new banknotes is attributed to the procurement of the new BPS M7 banknote sorting machines in 2016 and 2017 for the Oshakati Branch and Head Office.
“This sorting equipment resulted in improved efficiency and hence increased volumes of reissuable banknotes.
“As the central Bank is required to ensure that only banknotes of good quality are in circulation, the Bank checked the authenticity and fitness of banknotes for recirculation, which subsequently resulted in the withdrawal of 35.9 million banknote pieces with a face value of N$1.9 billion in 2017, compared to 52.7 million pieces with a face value of N$3.1 billion in 2016.”
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