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Tajik National Bank Head: Counterfeit Money Printed In Afghanistan

Many Tajiks can't distinguish counterfeit currency from real currency
Many Tajiks can't distinguish counterfeit currency from real currency
DUSHANBE -- The head of the Tajik National Bank has warned people that forged Tajik somonis are circulating in Tajikistan, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Sharif Rahimzoda said on July 26 in Dushanbe that "recently we received information that there was a secret printing house in Afghanistan that was printing counterfeit somonis. We informed our Afghan allies and the printing house was destroyed."

Rahimzoda did not say where the printing presses were or who was running them. He said there is no reliable estimate of the amount of counterfeit currency already printed and brought into Tajikistan.

Rahimzoda noted that people do not care whether the money they receive is forged and admitted that he had used forged banknotes in a Dushanbe market and the vendor accepted them.

He added that many large stores or supermarkets in the Tajik capital have been accepting forged currency because they cannot distinguish the counterfeit banknotes from real ones.

Rahimzoda said the planned increase in the use of bank debit cards is the most effective way of reducing the use of forged currency. He said the number of debit-card users in Tajikistan will increase by 25 percent this year.

Despite that, Rahimzoda said more than 90 percent of all financial transactions in Tajikistan are carried out in cash.

Many Tajiks use U.S. dollars for large transactions. Rahimzoda also said that 2.9 billion somonis ($661.8 million) and around S400 million in cash are currently in circulation in Tajikistan.