By March 2020 this country will have a new suit of polymer notes.
Central Bank Governor Dr Alvin Hilaire made the announcement at the launch of the new $100 polymer bill yesterday.
Hilaire said this new phase for next year will however, be done over a longer period.
“It would not be a secret. You will have a longer opportunity to examine your bills and to look at it. The demonetisation period will probably be a year,” Hilaire explained while speaking at the launch of the new polymer $100 bill held at the Central Bank .
He noted there has been an “uptick” in the forgery of this country’s $100 bills which he described as “disturbing.”
“People are tying to bleach it (the $100 bill), to upscale it..so there are different ways of getting around.
“We are seeing this every week and we are getting quite a few (counterfeit $100 bills),” he added.
The governor said while the problem is “not that large” it must however, be tackled at the early stages.
He reinforced the fact the $100 polymer note was a national strategy to improve the security features of the bill, by upgrading the capacity to protect against forgery and also to facilitate its use by the visually impaired.
He said the Central Bank was approached by the National Security Ministry and Government to change this country’s $100 bill to the new polymer note.
However, Hilaire did not disclose details of the meeting, including when such a directive was given.
Asked whether the ministry’s request resulted in the bank speeding up its processes to introduce the new notes Hilaire said there had been ongoing conversations and “the two streams just came together.”
As the countdown for the implementation of the new polymer bill ticks down several economists have been weighing in but remain divided on whether the change may be helpful or not for the economy and small businesses when it comes on-stream.
Asked why the change just before the busy Christmas season, Hilaire said, “There’s no great time. Why after Carnival? Why before Easter? There’s no magic time.
“There’s also not the capacity sometimes, to have a choice in the time. Things were ready at this time. That’s as simple as it is,” Hilaire added.
The Central Bank Governor could not give an actual figure on the cost of the change-over exercise but insisted it was “not that much.”
“Polymer costs a little more than paper but you get it back in terms of the durability.”
“Generally if you change a currency and you get the old one out of circulation it takes a couple of years. In this case you do every thing in one so your price is standard so the rapid demonetisation actually helps. You don’t have the shipping costs and the price going up,” Hilaire explained.