Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

KARACHI: The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) has invited the general public to submit designs for new currency notes as it initiates the process of replacing the existing banknotes.

The announcement came a day after the SBP governor told a meeting of analysts about the decision to introduce new currency notes with advanced security features and to address the issue of counterfeit notes.

In a press release issued on Tuesday, the central bank said it was an “established practice” to introduce new banknotes every 15 to 20 years for security purposes.

As part of the initial designing process, the SBP is organizing an art competition for “innovative and thematic design ideas for the new banknote series”.

Process of issuing new bills to be completed in two years

Local artists, designers and art students are eligible to participate in the art competition, the central bank said, adding that designs could be on the themes of social and cultural identities, diversity, climate change and environment protection, economic development, natural landscapes, architectural heritage and national symbols.

The designs could be submitted by March 11, after which a jury of “reputed artists” will recommend six designs for each denomination.

The designs will be evaluated by “professional banknote designers”, who will recommend six designs for each denomination to the SBP, who will then select the final three designs.

The final designs will be submitted to the federal government for approval.

The designers with the first, second and third designs of each denomination will be given prizes of Rs1 million, Rs500,000, and Rs300,000, respectively.

While explaining the timeline of the entire process, the SBP said the issuance of new banknotes “involves a number of steps” with “meticulous planning and coordination among multiple stakeholders.”

The rollout of new banknotes is expected to be completed “within the next two years,” the press release added.

The existing banknotes will remain in circulation even after the new series, and any decision on their withdrawal “will be taken in a gradual and phased manner.”

The decision to replace banknotes was taken after the issue of counterfeiting became serious, with people asking questions about their prevalence in circulation.

Several senators expressed concerns over the central bank’s ability to collect counterfeit notes from across the country and issue new notes against them.

A meeting of the Senate Standing Committee on Finance in December took up the issue of circulation of fake currency notes as one of the members presented a Rs5,000 banknote to the SBP deputy governor, who conceded that it was a good quality note and he could not recognize whether it was fake or not.

The committee members demanded the SBP come up with a policy on the issue and how to compensate an unsuspecting citizen who might be handed a fake bill.

Published in Dawn, January 31st, 2024

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