New polymer currency accounts for 60% of notes in circulation Loop Jamaica

The content originally appeared on: Jamaica News Loop News

The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) is reporting that 60 per cent of the notes in circulation are polymer currency.

“When we look at the notes in circulation, the number of pieces, it is about 40 per cent that are the old notes. So, it is a 60:40 ratio. We are no longer issuing old notes since last year November,” Deputy Governor, Natalie Haynes, says.

She was speaking during the BOJ’s Quarterly Monetary Policy Press Conference on Wednesday (February 21).

The new Jamaican banknotes were officially released to the public on June 15, 2023. The old notes are likely to be completely removed from circulation by 2025.

Over the next two years, the BOJ will ensure that all the adjustments have been made to facilitate the full distribution of the notes, including retrofitting automated teller machines (ATMs).

 “Banks are currently at about 99 per cent in terms of ATM acceptance of the new notes as well as issuance of the new notes,” Haynes said.

“However, for some banks, one in particular, [in relation to] the $2,000 [note], we’re still retrofitting for that. So [when] that is achieved, you [will then] have full coverage for the new notes in all ATMs across the island,” she pointed out.

Additionally, the Deputy Governor said, “we have to give the public advanced notice to say the demonetisation is ‘X’ date and that, of course, also has to be gazetted; so we are going through that process.”

Haynes further indicated that the BOJ has to be ready to destroy the old notes when they come back in

“So, we think two years is still adequate in terms of all that preparation,” she stated. The new series of polymer Jamaican banknotes comprises upgraded $50, $100, $500, $1,000 and $5,000 notes, and the newly introduced $2,000 bill.

The $50 note features National Heroes, the Right Excellent Paul Bogle and George William Gordon, while Jamaica’s first National Hero, the Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, appears on the $100 bill.

The Right Excellent Samuel Sharpe and Nanny of the Maroons grace the $500 note, while the Right Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante, post-Independent Jamaica’s first Prime Minister, and the Right Excellent Norman Washington Manley are featured on the $1,000 denomination.

Two former Prime Ministers, Edward Seaga and Michael Manley, are on the $2,000 bill. Another two former Prime Ministers,  Sir Donald Sangster and Hugh Shearer appear on the $5,000 note.

This marks the second time in Jamaica’s history that a new series of banknotes is being introduced and comes 54 years after the country got its currency in 1969.

The Polymer substrate is being used to print Jamaican banknotes because of the material’s durability, compared to the paper format, which is expected to substantially lower associated costs.