Dr Henry Kofi Wampah, Governor, Bank of Ghana has called on West African Central Banks to adopt appropriate policies to safeguard the value of their currencies. He said measures such as those relating to the redemption of currency to prevent and minimise money laundering and counterfeiting could be initiated to adequately meet public demand for money.
Dr Wampah was speaking during the opening of a four- day Regional Course on Banknote and Currency Management organised by the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) in Accra on Tuesday. He said the workshop was important in view of the problems of currency management in most countries and the need to chart new directions consistent with best practices in order to ensure greater efficiency and minimise printing notes and minting coins. Dr Wampah said when confidence in a currency is strong, it fosters monetary and financial stability, which is a precondition for achieving sustainable economic growth.
He said effective currency management depends on excellent information and insightful analysis adding: "Efficient and effective currency management commences with a strategic analysis of the currency life-cycle." He said strategic management of currency is impossible without accurate forecasts of the demand for banknotes.
Dr Wampah said for currency managers, banknotes design presented a series of interlocking challenges but new designs must win public acceptance, incorporate requisite security features and meet durability and machine processing standards. Professor Akpan Ekpo, Director-General, WAIFEM, said the workshop was very important given the fact that cash still remains the main mode of financial transactions in almost all the countries in the sub-region. He said although efforts are being made towards the achievement of a cashless economy in some of the jurisdictions, the important role of cash management under the present circumstances and called for effective and efficient currency management.
Prof Ekpo said the integrity of the currency and its efficient supply are clear indicators of a well-functioning central bank and in the eyes of the public, the fundamental central bank function should be effective, efficient and present minimal issues that may hurt the reputation of the country. On counterfeiting, the Director-General said the issue continues to present a potential danger to national economies and financial losses to consumers.
He expressed the hope that the workshop would equip participants with the necessary experience to come up with workable solutions to cash and currency management problems in the sub-region. Prof Ekpo said WAIFEM recently extended its expertise to the private sector by establishing the Business Development Unit targeted at the private sector in the sub-region. “WAIFEM will soon commence fee-paying e-learning programmes in banking supervision and public debt management this year,” he said.
Prof Ekpo said plans are far advanced for the Institute to commence training in French with the intention to facilitating communication in the Economic Community of West African States sub-region. WAIFEM was established by Central banks of the Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and the Sierra Leone to help build the capacity for improved macroeconomic and financial management in the constituent member countries.
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