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Business News of Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Source: Daily Graphic

Redenomination cost $66.2 million

The Bank of Ghana spent a total of $66.2 million - about GH¢62.188 million (¢621.88 billion using current exchange rates) - on the redenomination exercise, the Governor of the Bank of Ghana, Dr Paul Acquah, has disclosed.

He said the figure represented a saving of $28 million, if compared with the $94.8 million spent in 2003 and 2006 to replace worn out notes and coins and top up the existing currency in circulation.

Answering questions from journalists at a press conference in Accra on Tuesday, Dr Acquah said the expenditure covered the total cost of the re-denomination exercise, including the printing and minting of Ghana cedi notes and coins and the multimedia campaign, among others.

"I prefer to call it savings because we now have to spend less to annually top up or replace currency in circulation," Dr Acquah explained.

The press conference was organised by the Central Bank's Monetary Policy Committee, which is chaired by the Governor, to brief the media on current developments in the economy and the way forward.

The governor said the exercise, which slashed four zeros from the old currency, gave the country the opportunity to replace millions of notes and coins of the old currency with fewer notes and coins, which matched the value of the old ones.

He said while subsequent replacement and topping up of currency in circulation would cost less, the exercise had also made enough currency available to purchase cocoa beans during the next crop season.

At the end of October this year, the BoG had withdrawn 89 percent of the old currency in circulation, which the governor explained signaled that the end of the exercise was in sight.

Over 90 percent of both the ¢20,000 and ¢I0,000 notes had been retrieved, but the withdrawal of coins is much slower.

As of now, only 15.23 percent of the coins had been withdrawn. The reason is that it was more cumbersome to haul the much bulkier coins to change at the banks as compared to notes.

By the close of this year, the cedi will cease to be legal tender, but would continue to be exchanged for the Ghana Cedi at the banks.

Since the beginning of July this year, when the new Ghana Cedi was introduced, it has been circulating side-by-side the cedi to enable the public to understand and adjust to the Ghana Cedi.

On counterfeiting, the governor gave the assurance that the security apparatus was on guard to apprehend any unscrupulous individuals who perpetrate the crime, saying, "The security forces are aware of the money being spent and are determined to expose any such criminal activities.

On the economy, Dr Acquah said growth was robust and the economy was resilient to shocks such as the rising crude oil prices and interruptions in domestic power supply.