It is a crime to scribble on banknotes, says Central Bank of Oman

New notes will take three to four months to reach to the ATMs

  
Sultanate of Oman local currency. Image used for illustrative purpose.

Sultanate of Oman local currency. Image used for illustrative purpose.

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The RO 50 note with the portrait of late Sultan Qaboos has been in circulation since July 2020, while the other seven new notes depict the vision of 2040 and special features of Oman such as infrastructure, values, art, agriculture, and natural wealth of the country. It will take three to four months to reach those notes to the ATMs, according to Shabib al Shabibi, Manager, Currency Management Department.

As a piece of advice, Al Shabibi requested people, “Please do not fold a banknote, it kills the note.”

Writing on a banknote is also a crime just like damaging a note.

“A torn note is not fit for circulation. It would have to be brought to the Central Bank through commercial banks. They normally do not accept torn or damaged notes or very fact that they would have to come all the way here to exchange it would prevent them from damaging it,” pointed out Al Shabibi.

“We tried to take the inspiration from the first set of notes, as when we have a history — we have a future. The merging of the colours makes the notes very special. The work on these notes has been going on for a while with the vision set as the celebration of the 50th anniversary.

What happens to damaged notes?

At the Currency Museum of the Central Bank of Oman, on exhibit is cylindrical pulp. On a closer note, a zero is visible and a little further is digit 5.

“This is a pulp of damaged RO 50 banknotes that were damaged after years of use, remaining of the shredded banknotes and made into pulp.

The pulp is so strong that one can even make furniture out of it.

The most annoying part as a manager of the currency department is to see writings on a banknote. Why I get upset is because this is the currency of the country. We have to respect it and we are not meant to write on it. Hopefully in this new series people will not write on them. We have designed the new notes in such a way that hopefully even if they try to write it will not stay.”

He pointed out that it is a crime to write or mark on banknotes.

“People can be sentenced to jail because of this practice of writing on the notes. Damaging a national currency is a crime. Most of the time people write their amount. To mistreat the banknote such as throwing it is a punishable crime,” explained the Currency Department Manager.

If a note is torn accidentally, the only place it can be exchanged is the Central Bank of Oman.

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