Individuals and organisations that earn profits from exchanging small-denominations with large notes at historical sites, pagodas and festivals will be strictly punished.

A document issued on December 9 by the Governor of the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) has asked the Ministry of Industry and Trade and the Ministry of Public Security to work together to discover violators of the currency regulation.

A study by the State Bank revealed that many residents used small denomination notes at temples and during festivals. Only a small amount of these small denominations are used as entrance payments, as the main amount is spent when worshipping objects in pagodas and festivals.

This comes from old-school thoughts that worshippers need to "give" money to the dead or Buddhists if they want to pray for good health or good business.

Thus, they need to exchange large notes for smaller denominations, while many individuals have taken the change to earn profits from this service.

The money, then, remains unaccountable and, spread throughout pagodas, affects the solemn historical sites and the image of Vietnamese money.

Moreover, such use of these notes creates a great waste for society in printing, issuing, counting, classifying, transporting and maintaining money.

The demand for small denomination currency during past years has placed great pressure on the SBV and the banking sector, according to the central bank.-VNA