Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said the introduction of new currency notes is part of the ongoing economic reform in the country.
The government unveiled today new currency notes with enhanced security features on the new notes with the view to making them hard to counterfeit. The notes that replace the old Birr 10, 50 and 100, and the new 200 Birr note is issued by the government.
“Introducing the changes in our currency notes was deemed necessary to salvage the country’s fractured economy,” the prime minister told a gathering that included ministers, bank governors, and heads of the security agencies.
The 5 Birr note remains unchanged and will be turned into coin format soon, it was learned. During the announcement of the introduction of the new notes, Prime Minister Abiy said a lot of work has been done in the past two years to address the macroeconomic imbalance in Ethiopia.
“Right now the economy is recovering from a recession,” he stated, adding that controlling inflation has become difficult and not at the desired level.
The large amounts of money circulating outside banks exacerbated the problem, the premier noted, further explaining that the new currency notes would play paramount role in resolving the problem. He pointed out that the new currency notes are designed to be convenient to use and to serve for long time.
Over 3.7 billion birr($100 million) has been spent on printing the notes alone.
In his presentation, Governor of the National Bank of Ethiopia, Yinager Dessie said the newly introduced banknotes will help the country to end hoarding, counterfeiting, corruption, and other ills.
Ethiopia earlier passed directions that any company or an individual can keep cash only up to 1.5 million birrs ($41,000). The cash withdrawal from banks should also not exceed 100,000 birrs ($2,737).
All illegal monetary activities that violate the law will result in the arrest of culprits and confiscation of the money seized, he stressed.
Similarly, strong measures would be taken against banks and other entities that operate illegally while changing the old notes with the new.
National Bank Governor Yinager Dessie disclosed on his part that huge amount of Ethiopian Birr has been accumulated abroad, including in neighboring countries.
Strong control measures have been put in place to prevent the money from entering the country, he stated.
The 90 percent of the old notes should be changed into new notes within a month period time, the Governor said, adding that persons with 100,000 birr and more must however change them within a month.