The Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) is to spend more than $1 billion to produce the new banknotes which will be introduced in the island later this year.
In a release on Friday, the BOJ said while it could not disclose the exact cost of printing the new notes, it has spent US$7 million (just over $1 billion) per annum over the past three years to print banknotes.
“For the upgraded banknotes, the cost will initially be higher, given the significantly larger quantities to be ordered as the redesigned notes will fully replace the current notes over time — the new substrate, polymer that will be used; enhanced security features to combat counterfeiting; and the new designs for each denomination,” said the BOJ.
“However, the polymer substrate used will result in cost savings for the bank over time as the average useful life of the banknotes will increase by at least 50 per cent, thereby enabling the bank to order less banknotes and at a lower frequency in the future,” added the BOJ.
According to the BOJ, it recently concluded a contract with De La Rue, a United Kingdom-based company, to redesign and print the upgraded banknotes which will be put into circulation towards the end of this year.
The BOJ said while it acknowledges the valid concerns regarding the provision of information about the cost of the upgraded banknotes, it is not able to disclose such information as the terms and conditions of the contract with De La Rue, which include the cost, are subject to a strict confidentiality agreement.
“In fact, personnel engaged in the procurement process were required to sign non-disclosure agreements prohibiting them from disclosing the settled payment terms. Disclosure would therefore expose the bank to legal action for a breach of contract.
“The Access to Information Act exempts the disclosure of information relating to the terms of the contract as to do so would be an actionable breach of confidence,” declared the BOJ
It said the selection of De La Rue as the successful printer was the result of a rigorous procurement process which it conducted with the final recommendation being approved by Minister of Finance and the Public Service Dr Nigel Clarke as required by the Bank of Jamaica Act.
“The procurement process is consistent with the Government’s procurement guidelines. Six reputable banknote printers submitted bids which were assessed by a committee of the bank’s currency experts.
“Based on confidentiality of the bidding process, the bank is unable to divulge information on the other entities,” added the BOJ.
It said it will provide relevant information regarding the new series of banknotes as part of a comprehensive public education campaign leading up to their introduction into circulation.
Opening the 2022-23 Budget Debate in March, Clarke announced the introduction of a new $2,000 banknote on which the images of late former prime ministers Edward Seaga and Michael Manley will appear together.
He said the $2,000 note is among a series of new/upgraded notes which will go into circulation later this year.
According to Clarke, the new notes are part of the work being done by the BOJ to upgrade/refresh the currency in circulation to save costs through increased durability of banknotes, enhance the security of the notes to reduce the risk of counterfeiting, enhance the features to better meet the needs of the visually impaired, and ensure that the colour and other distinctions among banknotes of different denominations are clear.