Banknotes and Coins

Bank of Uganda has the sole right to print/mint, issue and destroy banknotes and coins in Uganda. 

The Bank is responsible for the bulk distribution of banknotes and coin and to meet the public demand. It makes virtually no difference from the Bank's broad monetary policy perspective whether the public holds cash, demand deposits at banks. The potential supply of banknotes and coins to the public however, is limited by banks to the extent that the public is only permitted to withdraw cash held as deposits or draw cash against pre-arranged credit facilities.

The branches of the Bank, the Ugandan Police Services and the commercial banks all work together in combating the counterfeiting of banknotes and coins.

Uganda currency 

The currency structure of Uganda consists of banknotes and coins and is denoted in Uganda Shilling (UGX). 

The following denominations are currently in circulation:


  UGX 1,000 UGX 2,000 UGX 5,000 UGX10, 000 UGX 20,000 and UGX 50,000.


        UGX; 1,2,5,10,50,100,200, 500 and 1000.


It is important for the public to be aware of the security features incorporated in genuine banknotes and to distinguish between genuine Ugandan banknotes and counterfeit notes.

History of Uganda Currency 

Before 1966 the function of managing monetary affairs of Uganda was vested in the East African Currency Board. In 1966 the BoU Act created the Bank of Uganda and started issuing Uganda’s first currency.

Uganda Currency has changed seven times since 1966. The 1966, 1973, 1979, 1983 and 1986 issues as a result of regime changes.

The 1987 issue has undergone a series of upgrading, though not because of political factors but in an effort to crack down counterfeits and ease transactions as well.

First Issue of Currency 

The 1966 currency had coins of:

5 cents, 10 cents, 20 cents, 50 cents, 1 shilling, 2 shilling.

It also had banknotes of:

5 shillings, 10 shillings, 20 shillings, and 100 shillings

1973 issue 

A new government took over in 1971; And in 1973, changes were made to the Banknotes. The denominations of the 1966 Issue were maintained, and a 50-shilling note was also issued. A portrait of President Idi Amin was then introduced on the Banknotes.

1979 issue 

 In 1979, a new government came in place and made slight changes to the currency. While it maintained the same denominations, President Amin’s portrait was replaced with an artist impression of the Bank of Uganda building.
1982/83 Issues

A new government came in place in 1981. In 1982 new currency were issued out and same denominations were maintained. In 1983, the denominations of 500 and 1000 Shillings notes were introduced, and had a portrait of President Milton Obote.

1985/1986 Issues

A new government came in power in 1985. In 1985/86, another issue of currency was made, and President Obote’s portrait replaced with the National Emblem in the middle of the Map of Uganda. A new Banknote of 5000 was also introduced.

1987 Issue

A new government came in place in 1986. New currency with a completely different design was introduced. This currency had coins of 5 cents, 1 shilling, and 2 shillings. 
In 1999 new denomination coins of 50, 100, 200 and 500 shillings were introduced and on December 31, 2000, Notes of Uganda Shilling 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 were demonetized and ceased to be legal tender.

The new currency also maintained same Banknote denominations of: 1000 shillings and 5000 shillings and were upgraded over the years.
In 1995, a new denomination of 10,000 was introduced. It was later upgraded, and on January 02, 2006, the upgraded 10,000 shilling Banknote was issued.
In 1999, Bank of Uganda issued out a new 20,000 banknote. It was also upgraded, and on November 01, 2004, the upgraded 20,000-shilling note was also issued.
On December 01, 2003, Bank of Uganda issued out a new 50,000-Shilling note.

The 1987 series will however cease to be legal tender on 30th March 2013. The public will be allowed to exchange this currency at any commercial bank branch at full face value between 31st March 2013 and 30th May 2013.
After 30th May 2013, any person in possession of this currency will be given until 30th December 2013 to exchange it at any Bank of Uganda Branch.

2010 Series

The latest family of currency notes was issued in May 2010 with an inclusion of the UGX 2,000 denomination under the themes; Gifted by Nature and Uganda through the times.
All the issues before 1987 have long been demonetized.

50th Independence Anniversary Coin

On 9th October 2012, the Bank issued a Shilling 1000 50th Independence Anniversary Coin to commemorate 50 years of Independence. The coin was issued in two categories, the circulation coin and non-circulation coin. The non-circulation coin is available for sale to the public in two packages; the Acrylic block and Vinyl casing.
The circulation 1,000 commemorative coin will circulate side by side with the shilling 1,000 banknotes.

Security features of banknotes

Public awareness campaigns are ongoing to ensure that as many Ugandans as possible are informed about the security features of the banknotes so as to encourage the public, to check their money to make sure that they have real money.

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