The Bank of Ghana says current banknotes in circulation were not upgraded with new security features because it was being seriously counterfeited.
There have been reports the current notes in circulation are been seriously counterfeited, especially when it comes to the GH¢50 banknotes.
But the Bank of Ghana has rejected these accessions, insisting that the move was not influenced by these concerns.
The Bank of Ghana last month in a press statement noted that the banknotes will 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.
According to the Bank of Ghana, the upgraded and the existing series of banknotes will co-circulate.
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.
Speaking to JoyBusiness, the Head of Currency Management at the Bank of Ghana John Gyamfi said there is no way anyone can argue that these notes were upgraded because it was seriously being counterfeited.
According to him, the current level of counterfeiting of the cedi notes, has not even crossed the Bank of Ghana’s own benchmark – that is more than 100 notes counterfeited from 1 million notes in circulation, “ as we sit, we have not even crossed the fifth of our benchmark , but rather under 20 percent of issued notes, ” Mr. Gyamfi insisted that counterfeit is not an issue with the family of banknotes.
He was however optimistic that the new features of the upgraded banknotes will make the notes even more difficult to counterfeit.
Cost of issuing upgrade currency notes
The Bank of Ghana appears to be tight-lipped on the exact amount of the cost of these upgraded notes. But the Head of Currency Management has maintained that it did not cost it “an arm and leg” to issue these notes.
He added the cost is within what they would have always been budgeting for replacing existing banknotes.
Mr Gyamfi was of the view that “the country is not being short-changed in terms of the related cost in issuing the currency.”
So what happens to the existing notes and would it still be a legal tender?
The Head of currency management noted that the existing notes will remain legal tender and must be accepted for all transactions, adding that they would use the “recall process” to get those old notes out of the market.