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11.05.2007 Business & Finance

Banks to accept bulk coin deposists

By Adu Koranteng

Samuel Ayisi of the Human Resource Department of the Bank of Ghana has said that one of the reasons why the re-denomination exercise is being undertaken is to encourage the use of more coins in the currency exchange system.

Dr Ayisi said a memorandum has been concluded with all the financial institutions to accept all amounts in coin denominations to help prolong the life span of the new cedi notes and also save the bank from wasting resources to continuously mint the currency.

The history of Ghana's financial sector shows the reluctance of some major banks to accept large coin deposits. Reasons given include the time wasted by bank staff in counting them. Subsequently this has discouraged Ghanaians from visiting the banks to make coin deposits. The practice of daily trading in coin activities has thus almost become extinct.

The new coins unveiled by the bank last week are one Ghana cedi (1 GH), fifty Ghanaian pesewas (50 GHP), twenty Ghanaian pesewas (20 GHP) and ten Ghanaian pesewas (10 GHP). The rest are five Ghanaian pesewas (5 GHP) and one Ghanaian pesewas (1 GHP).

These coins will soon begin to operate alongside the existing ¢100, ¢200, ¢500 and ¢20 (which has virtually been lost from the system) until December 31, 2007, when it will no longer be required.

In a related development, Benjamin Amoah of the Bank of Ghana"s Monetory Policy Committee has disclosed that the new Ghana cedi will be released for public use on the 3rd of July 2007.

According to Dr Amoah, since July 1 falls on a Sunday and is Ghana's Republic Day, Government was likely to make the following day - July 2 – a public holiday, thus extending the date for the release of the new currency to July 3, and not July 1 as previously announced.

In another development, the Bank of Ghana and the Ghana Association of Bankers are to establish a system called Ghana Interbank Payments and Settlement System, an independent body that will be responsible for the different components of Ghana's payment and settlement system infrastructure.

The system is expected to considerably reduce the usage of cash for business transactions and move Ghana's economy towards electronic payments, with the National Switch allowing ATM interoperability between banks.

GIPSS in its full stream would provide services to the unbanked and underbanked segments of the population. All Ghanaian banks are due to join the system either directly or access the system through member banks. It is also expected that the National Switch, biometric smartcard, codeline cheque truncation, and Automated Clearing House which form part of the payment system infrastructure that GIPSS will be providing would be installed by the end of 2007.