In keeping with its commitment to improve the standard of Ghana’s currency, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) yesterday began the circulation of the newly upgraded cedi notes.
However, there was a slow start to the circulation exercise as many of the banks in Accra and some of the regional capitals did not receive the upgraded notes for circulation, while a number of customers also indicated that they were unaware of the decision to circulate the cedi notes.
The affected denominations are the one, five, 10, 20 and 50 cedi banknotes which have been given some specific public security features to match the evolving technological landscape.
When the Governor of the BoG was reached on why the two cedi note was not included in the exercise, he gave a terse reply, “ It’s not part of the family of notes.”
The move by the central bank to upgrade the banknotes is aimed at improving the security, durability and machine readability of the notes, and also reduce the many cases of counterfeits in the system.
Explaining the reason behind the slow start of the circulation, the Head of Communications of the BoG, Mrs Esi Hammond, told the Daily Graphic that it was a demand matter.
“Once the banks do not need money to transact business now, they will not go for it so there is no need to rush,” she said.
She added that the enhanced notes were available at the BoG so as and when the banks decided to go for money to transact business, they would be released to them.
The enhanced security features are Optically Variable Magnetic Image, also known as Spark live, which is a shiny colour-changing image of the cowrie shell on the GH¢10, a star on the GH¢20 and cocoa pod on the GH¢50.
With this feature, a shiny line across the cowrie shell, star and cocoa pod moves up and down when the note is tilted. The colour of the feature also changes from gold to green when tilted.
Another added feature is the New Enhanced Security Thread (RAPID) which is also a shiny broken line that runs through the banknote from top to bottom. It is continuous when viewed against light. When the note is tilted, a star expands and contracts while the denomination value stays still.
Additionally, a more prominent watermark has been introduced. It is the image of Tetteh Quarshie with a cocoa pod which has been made more noticeable in the plain star area of the banknote. It becomes visible on both sides when viewed against light. The denomination value can also be seen in the watermark area.
The fourth major upgrade is an Enhanced Iridescent Band at the back of the banknote. That is a golden band with gold bars at the back of the banknote that runs from top to bottom. This can be seen more clearly when the note is tilted against light.
However, elements such as the portrait of the Big Six, denominational colours, dimensions of the various denominations and other principal and background images remain unchanged.
The upgraded and the existing series of banknotes will co-circulate until the current notes go into extinction.
The Daily Graphic visited some banks in the Greater Accra Region, including the Weija branch of Fidelity Bank, the Universal Bank for Africa, adb Bank and the Anyaa branch of the Consolidated Bank of Ghana (CBG) to know more about the issuance of the banknotes on the first day.
Contrary to the reporters’ expectation, customers were not in a hurry to obtain the new notes, as the situation at the banks was normal; quiet and very serene as though there was nothing at stake.
Between 10.00a.m. and 12.30p.m. when the Daily Graphic visited those banks, issuance was yet to be made to any of them.
An official of the Weija branch of the GCB Bank, who spoke to the Daily Graphic on condition of anonymity, said: “Our cash people are yet to bring us any money and we are yet to receive any of the new notes. Usually it comes after midday.”
He stated that there was no pressure from the customers for the new currencies, adding that “often times they become aware of it two or three days after the issuance.”
At the Kaneshie branch of Societe Generale, an official who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said some customers had asked for the upgraded notes although they had not received any.
The situation was not different at the Kaneshie branch of adb Bank where an official said: “We have made a request for the new notes but we have not got any supply, but we are hopeful that by close of day we will receive it.”
Some customers of the banks who also spoke to the Daily Graphic said they were unaware of the circulation of the new notes.
“For me, today is a normal day just like any other day. I am not expecting to see any upgraded cedi note because I am not aware of anything like that,” a customer of the Kaneshie branch of Societe Generale, Mr Fred Atta, said.
Mr Augustine Amu, also a customer of adb Bank, said: “I do not know of any upgraded banknotes in the system. This is news to me. When did it come? he queried.
However, others who had an idea as to what the upgrade of the banknotes was about and its importance simply appeared not to have any interest or desire to have the new banknotes in their possession at all.
From the Western Region, Dotsey Koblah Aklorbortu reports that many banks were yet to take delivery of the new notes or denominations from the Bank of Ghana.
The banks visited this morning in the regional capital, Sekondi/Takoradi, were still issuing the old notes.
According to the banks, they were yet to take delivery of the money from the BoG,but were confident that before the close of business yesterday or beginning today, the ATMs and cages of the tellers would have some of the new notes for customers.
Some customers who spoke to the Daily Graphic said they were not aware of the new notes with enhanced features.
Mr Adolph Nokoe, a resident of Takoradi, said he used the ATM at Axim and Takoradi yesterday morning but did not see any new notes.
“As far as the old notes remain valid, I am not in a rush to grab the new notes, if they come, we will use them. But for now, once I can buy with what I have in my pocket, I don’t have a problem,” he said.
None of the banks in Kumasi took delivery of the cedi notes with enhanced features, reports Daniel Kenu.
At Ecobank and SG Ghana at Adum and at Fidelity Bank at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), none of them had seen the notes as of the time the Daily Graphic visited the banks between 12 midday and 1p.m.
At Ecobank, an official who pleaded anonymity said he was unaware of the circulation.
A number of customers the Daily Graphic spoke to remained indifferent, saying it would not increase their purchasing power.
Most of the customers were, however, of the view that the upgrade might secure and protect the currency.
Shirley Asiedu-Addo writes from Cape Coast that some banks were not able to give out the enhanced cedi notes as announced.
A teller with Unibank at the University of Cape Coast, Ms Patricia Inkoom, said they did not receive the new notes from the BoG branch for distribution.
Another teller at the Prudential Bank also said they did not also give out the new notes.
A customer with Prudential Bank, Mr Benjamin Acquah, who was at the bank to withdraw money, said he was not expecting new notes.
“We have been told we are using them along the old notes so I am not bothered.”
Source: Graphic Online