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The National Bank of Ethiopia (NBE), the supervisory organ of financial institutions in the country, is set to introduce a standardized cheque system starting from early January 2013, which will see bank cheques to be the same all over the country with enhanced security features, Capital learned.
A senior official at one of the private banks operating in the country told Capital that he expects the new cheques to be printed under the control of the central bank, will be better coded and difficult to forge. This source further added that the cost of printing will be covered by the private banks.  The new cheques reportedly are set to have an enhanced security system as they will be printed electronically, unlike previous models, and will only be differentiated by the logos of the particular bank to which they belong.  
However, he said, the banks have not been given the necessary orientation on the new cheque models and their features yet, and further details have not been divulged for now, although he expects that training will be conducted, possibly starting next week.
Private banks used to print their Cheques through the long-standing public printing press Berhanena Selam Printing Enterprise. 
According to sources these banks are now instructed by the central bank not to print anymore cheques until further notice.
According to another bank official “A committee, consisting of various banking professionals from all the banks operating in Ethiopia and which are members of the Ethiopian Bankers Association (EBA), both private and state-owned, have been discussing ways to standardize the bank cheque system for over a year.”
This official further said that standardization of cheque system would vastly aid the speedy realization of the country’s development as it creates a reliable and trusted business transaction between customers and their respective banks. 
Yet another senior official told Capital that he was aware of the move to standardize the bank cheque system, although he stated that he didn’t have specific information on exactly when it comes into effect.
But senior official said he expects members of the committee, which are looking at standardizing the bank cheque system, to endorse the move at the beginning of the New Year 2013. 
Berhanu Getaneh, President of United Bank Share Company and President of EBA said that it is too early to release the information, and that only a study related to this matter is being planned. “There’s nothing concrete in this regard,” Berhanu said.               
Early in 2011 NBE introduced a Swift Cheque Value Transfer, an interbank payment system, to ensure prompt exchange and transfer of cheques above 200,000 birr. The SWIFT cheque value transfer allows for the head offices of banks to use Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) in settling high value cheques within six hours. The solution offered by NBE enables banks to process cheques worth more than 200,000 birr through the system that allows money transfers bypassing the delays associated with the Automated Clearance System.