KARACHI: The presence of counterfeit currency notes is an undeniable fact and primary responsibility to check their influx lies with law enforcement agencies, the State Bank said in a statement on Tuesday.

The central bank denied that banks were involved in supply of counterfeit notes.

The issue of fake currency notes in circulation was discussed during a recent briefing by an SBP team to the Senate’s Standing Committee on Finance. The committee’s chairman asked the central bank’s team to look into complaints by some people who said they had received such notes from banks.

The SBP said it has adopted a three-pronged strategy: ensuring state-of-the-art security features in banknotes that are difficult to counterfeit; developing necessary capacity and infrastructure with banks to issue genuine and authenticated banknotes to the public; and creating awareness among the general public.

The State Bank issued new series of banknotes between 2005 and 2008 with significantly enhanced security features comparable with those of the euro, the pound sterling and the US dollar.

“In order to ensure that banks issue genuine and authenticated banknotes, they are required to issue only sorted cash to the public from their cash counters and ATMs,” it said.

Cash received by bank branches cannot be issued unless sorted, said the SBP, pointing out that the bulk of this sorting is manual and vulnerable to human errors. It advised banks to install banknotes authentication and sorting machines.

“From Jan 2, 2017, banks will only be issuing machine-authenticated banknotes from their branches and ATMs,” the SBP said.

The central bank is also installing high-speed banknote processing machines in its subsidiary SBP Banking Services Corporation, besides using the desktop note sorting machines. The measure will likely improve banking system’s capacity to check counterfeit notes.

Recently, a short documentary on banknote security features has been prepared and is being launched this month. Moreover, a smartphone application has also been developed to enable the general public have complete information about these security features on their finger tips. The success of these initiatives in minimising the currency counterfeiting will, among others things, depend on public cooperation in reporting fake banknotes to law enforcement agencies.

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