A retired Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Mr Emmanuel Asiedu-Mante, has explained that currency printing was an expensive exercise carried out by specialised firms
In the case of Ghana, he said the cedi is printed by De La Rue, a security printing firm based in the United Kingdom.
“We have done with firms in Germany and France too; these are security printers and the cost is a huge one.
“They print and charge in British pounds,” he said.
This, he said explained why BoG undertakes occasional public education exercises on how to handle the notes well to reduce the spate of destruction and printing to replace.
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“It is because each banknote costs a lot of money. Think of it; the paper, the security features and the ink. A lot goes into it,” he added.
He, therefore, charged the general public to handle the cedi notes well to help prolong their existence.
Printing to finance deficits
Mr Asiedu-Mante explained that apart from upgrade and replacement of worn-out notes that require printing of new notes, a government’s decision to spend more than it raises in revenues often also lead to printing of new money.
Known as deficit financing, the retired central bank deputy boss said whenever the government records a fiscal deficit, “it goes to the central bank to borrow for the government and that means putting extra money into circulation.”
“So, on those occasions, you get the central bank putting in money that is not necessarily due to the replacement of a deformed one or introduction of new features,” he said.
He explained that the decision to allow the upgraded banknotes to co-circulate with existing ones was to ensure that the exercise does not cause “panic and havoc.”
“As soon as the old one gets to BoG, it will be withdrawn from circulation and the equivalent in the new one is brought out,” he said, adding that this should make it a seamless operation.
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The notes were signed by the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Ernest Addison, on March 4 and now due to be released into the market next month.
The exercise is meant to strengthen the currency against faking, the central bank said in an April 8, 2019 press statement.
The BoG in the statement announcing the new notes explained that the new notes have enhanced security features in line with evolving changes in the technological landscape
The new enhanced security features are an optically variable magnetic image (SPARK LIVE), a new enhanced security thread (RAPID), a more prominent watermark and an enhanced iridescent band at the back of the banknote.
The upgraded and the existing series of banknotes will co-circulate, according to the BoG.
The BOG also disclosed that the following principal design elements will remain unchanged in the upgraded banknotes; the Big Six portrait, denominational colours, dimensions of the various denominations and other principal and background images.