The Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) has engaged an extra gear to mop out fake currency circulating in the economy through the Counterfeit Currency Management Policy.
The central bank has since signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Malawi Police Service, the Bankers Association of Malawi (BAM) and microfinance institutions to collaborate in this endeavour.
Speaking at the launch of the policy in Lilongwe last week, RBM Governor Dalitso Kabambe said although the proportion of fake currencies is minimal as compared to the total money in circulation—currently at K914 billion—the problem of counterfeit currencies should still be dealt with the utmost seriousness it deserves.
“If left unchecked, counterfeit currency can adversely affect the economy as it negatively impacts on prices and also undermines the creditability of the legal tender,” he said.
“We want low inflation and we do not want counterfeit notes to disrupt the economy. It can be a detrimental thing. In other countries, they do a complete overhaul of the whole currency and it is a big cost to the system.”
In his remarks, Inspector General (IG) of Police Lexten Kachama said it is their duty as the police to ensure that property, including money, is protected and will render full support to RBM to fight against fake money in circulation.
“Fighting crime is not an easy thing. One institution alone cannot win the fight against crime. Therefore, we as the police and other stakeholders, will support the Reserve Bank of Malawi,” he said.
Figures from RBM show that about 2 750 fake notes have been in circulation since January 2016 up to date.
Currently, there are five cases in courts in relation to the possession of counterfeit currency.
In Malawi, counterfeiters usually target the highest denominations. n