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Opinions of Friday, 27 January 2017

Columnist: Anum, Tony

A case for the redesign of all the cedi notes

Last week, the governor of the Bank of Ghana, Mr Abdul-Nashiru Issahaku, announced that a new 5-cedi note with different design and security features would be unveiled in March this year to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of the Bank of Ghana. This got me wondering.

When the Kufuor-government redenominated the country’s currency in 2007, one glaring mistake or oversight was the absence of a 2-cedi note. I could not fathom why the then government decided not to add a 2-cedi note to notes of the country’s currency. But thankfully, the Atta Mills-government rightly introduced one in May 2010 to the delight of many Ghanaians. However, another mistake (in my opinion) lies with the design of the 2-cedi note.

I have no problem with the design of the rear of the 2-cedi note or that of any other cedi note for that matter. Of course, sensibly, they all featured different designs. But from a design point of view, the 2-cedi note does not follow the consistency in the design of the front of the 1, 5, 10, 20 and 50-cedi notes. Even though I do not think it is okay that the design of the front of all the other cedi notes look alike (if not the same), I think the design of the front of the 2-cedi note makes it look odd. Supposedly, the front of the 2-cedi note was designed to commemorate the centenary celebration of the birth of Kwame Nkrumah and that is what informed the decision to have only his portrait on the note. Okay! I do recall that at the ceremony to announce the introduction of the 2-cedi note, then governor of the Bank of Ghana, Mr Kwesi Ammisah-Arthur indicated that there were plans to redesign all the other notes to have different and distinct portraits on each of the them in order to improve identification. That actually made sense to me. As to why the Kufuor-government decided to give the same design to the front of the notes while their rear featured different designs, I have no idea! Funny! Maybe we should ask him! But it is Ghana; nothing ever gets done! That laudable plan to redesign the notes to give each of them a distinct look was not implemented more than six years after it was announced by a man who eventually became the vice-president of this country. Not surprising though! It has been over a decade; but I am yet to receive the national identification card for which I registered in 2006! Ghana for you! Nothing ever gets done! And today, the Bank of Ghana is again claiming that it would introduce a new 5-cedi note which will feature a new design to mark its 60th anniversary celebration? Can we be a little more serious in this country? Why not use the opportunity to redesign all the other notes at once?

Oh okay!!! Since apparently, the redesign of the notes is done during the commemoration of some past event, maybe during the marking of the 30th anniversary of the return of the country to democratic rule, we will redesign the 10-cedi note! During the marking of some other anniversary, we will redesign the 20-cedi note. Then, during the grand centenary celebration of the independence of Ghana in 2057, we introduce a redesign of the 50-cedi note! Of course, like the Bank of Ghana said, those notes will also serve as collector’s items! What a bunch of jokers!!!

If we need something done, let us do it now, once and for all. All this procrastination and feet-dragging attitude towards nation building will not ensure a speedy development of the country. The Bank of Ghana should use this opportunity to redesign all the other notes of the cedi now! God bless Ghana, and the rest of the world!!!