This week commercial banks have started issuing new ten thousand Leones notes to customer. Reportedly, these notes were recently imported into the country by the Bank of Sierra Leone to augment currency in circulation following a perceived shortage of bank notes in the economy especially in January and March this year.
In an exclusive interview with Awoko on the relationship between the new ten thousand Leone notes and the perceived cash shortage, the Governor of the central Bank of Sierra Leone (BSL) Sheku Sambadeen Sesay said that management of the country’s currency is part of the core functions of the bank, more or less a routine exercise. He said it is in the exercise of this function, aimed at ensuring that the economy has adequate currency notes, that accounts for the new ten thousand Leone notes now seen in circulation. He assured that there is enough currency in the country and that the perceived shortage which saw commercial banks limiting the amount of notes paid out to depositors is now a thing of the past.
Speaking about the Bank’s response to the perceived shortage of Bank notes, Governor Sambadeen Sesay said “when we observed a temporary imbalance in currency availability at commercial banks, we called a meeting of CEOs of commercial banks and encouraged banks with currency surpluses to support those with deficits “this singular effort ended the perceived shortage. He disclosed further that, by that time they (BSL) “had already put in an order, some Four months back, for bank note reprints because the printers require time to inscribe the intricate security features in especially the two, five and ten thousand Leones notes. However, since the one thousand Leones note was not subject to counterfeit attacks, the bank he said, had to fast track its printing to quickly address the demand for cash by the markets.
Governor Sambadeen assured this media that there is enough currency in the country and that the perceived shortage of currency notes in commercial banks is now a thing of the past.
It will be recalled that commercial banks started experiencing currency shortages around November, December last year (2011). The central Bank Governor in his annual state of the economy address mentioned that economic activity (increased activity of the mining companies) had grown at a faster rate than expected and cleverly accepted that they had been caught unawares in projecting for the amount of notes to be in circulation.
Governor Sambadeen Sesay says the Bank of Sierra Leone will now be withdrawing “soiled notes” from circulation and replacing them.