CBL launches new banknotes, plans digital currency

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Bereng Mpaki

 

THE Central Bank of Lesotho (CBL) will today introduce new banknotes with upgraded security features.

Speaking at the press conference this week, CBL governor, Retšelisitsoe Matlanyane, said they will be launching new M10, M20, M50, M100 and M200 notes with the enhanced security features to prevent or reduces the chances of them being counterfeited by unscrupulous individuals.

She said counterfeit notes were on the rise as the current notes were last upgraded in 2010.

Apart from the security features, Dr Matlanyane said the new notes boast of anti-fungal and anti-viral properties to protect people from contracting the Covid-19 virus.

The new bills also come with enhanced features for easier identification by visually impaired individuals.

“Our new bank notes are safer, secure, convenient in terms of size, and we hope they will last for some time until we move on to the next stage, which could be digital currency or other innovations in the industry,” Dr Matlanyane said.

She said that they will embark on public awareness campaigns on the new banknotes.

“We will teach the public on the new and old features of the bank notes to enable them to identify genuine and counterfeit notes,” she said. She added that the old notes would remain in circulation and they would be gradually phased out with time.

She also said there were plans to introduce a digital currency in the country.

In the past, the CBL has warned the public against entertaining digital currency-based investment schemes, saying there were no laws to protect them in the event they are cheated out of their savings by unscrupulous dealers.

This week, Dr Matlanyane indicated that plans were afoot to introduce a safe and secure digital currency.

“We are still largely a cash-based economy but the long-term plan is for us to become a cashlite society. This means we will use electronic and digital transactions. As the CBL, we are in the process of investing towards that. However, before introducing the new digital systems, we have to educate the public on the advantages of moving to electronic transactions over the disadvantages of using cash.

“Although we are still at preliminary stages, there are notable developments towards a digital currency within our common monetary area (CMA) region. As a country, we are considering moving to a digital maloti in the future,” she said.

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