The Bank of Botswana has defended the quality of the newly introduced set of coins and the company, Royal Canadian Mint, which was awarded the tender to produce them.
After weeks of mixed reactions towards the new coins, with some sections of the economy doubting the quality of the money, Bank of Botswana (BoB) says so far there has been no evidence of any defects except of “apparent deliberate mutilation of the coin.”
Just after its circulation last month, the new 1Pula coin was shown on social media networks by internet users to be already showing signs of rusting.
In response BoB suspected deliberate mutilation, and warned that deliberate mutilation of either banknotes or coin is violation of the Bank of Botswana Act (CAP 55:01), which carries a fine of up to P2 500.
The Central Bank says “any member of the public coming across defective coin is requested to surrender it to the Bank for a full refund.”
However the Central Bank admitted that “there may be a few defective coins that escaped quality control and may inadvertently be released into circulation.”
BoB defended the quality of this new set of coins saying “the new coin is made to the highest standards.”
The Central Bank also explained its reasons to change the coins, the characteristics or features and the choice of metals that were used. BoB explained that general increase in prices of metals over the past several years have influenced their new choice of the metals that are used.
BoB said copper, which constitutes about 75 percent of most alloys used in coin production is too expensive therefore many central banks have switched to plated steel.
Some shapes and features were done to accommodate the visual impaired, says the Central Bank. “The shapes of 5 thebe and the 25 thebe were retained to enable the visually impaired to differentiate them from the 10 thebe and 50 thebe,” explained BoB.
According to BoB the other distinguishing characteristics for the benefit of the visually impaired are the edge types where the 5 thebe, 25 thebe and 1 Pula have smooth edges, the 10 thebe, 50 thebe and 2 Pula have continuous serrations and the 5 Pula has interrupted serrations.
In an interviewed with this publication last week, former deputy Governor at BoB Dr Keith Jeffries acknowledged that due to unfamiliarity, regardless of the merits of the new currency there is usually some resistance to new notes and coins when they are introduced.
“When new coins are introduced and are circulating alongside the old coins, there will inevitably be some confusion,” said Dr Jeffries.
The former deputy Governor said however these concerns will prove to be temporary and will gradually fade away as people become familiar with the new coins and the old ones are withdrawn from circulation
The company that produced these coins is the ISO 9001-2008 certified Canadian company, The Royal Canadian Mint. This is the same company that produced coins for Botswana in 1991.The company is also tendered to design new coins marking the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and the 100th anniversary of the start of World War I and they will enter circulation in 2014.