- By Shin Min
Photo-Shwe Ko Lay
The Central Bank of Myanmar (CBM) has issued small denomination currency notes up to Ks89.386 billion for the convenience of the public during the 2017-2018 fiscal year. Besides proportionately issuing small currency notes to state-run and private banks, currency notes exchange services are available at the exchange counters of the CBM in Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon and Mandalay.
Following is a translation of an interview conducted with CBM Currency Management Department Director General U Aung Kyaw Than regarding the small denomination currency distribution by the CBM:
Q. It is learnt that the CBM is going to issue small currency notes. Could you let us know what kind of currencies would the CBM issue?
A. If you say that the CBM is going to issue small bank notes or coins, it will imply that we have just started issuing these small denomination currencies right now. As for the CBM, we have been distributing series of notes and coins, including 5-pya, 10-pya, 25-pya, 50-pya and 100-pya coins, and 1-kyat, 5-kyat, 10-kyat, 20-kyat, 50-kyat, 100-kyat, 200-kyat and 500-kyat notes since the time these currency notes and coins were issued in Myanmar. According to the times and due to changes in spending habits, we no longer issue some small currency coins, but we still issue 50-kyat, 100-kyat and 200-kyat currency notes.
Q. In that case, do you always issue small currency notes from the CBM?
A. That is right. We always issue especially small currency notes such as 50-kyat, 100-kyat, 200-kyat and 500-kyat denominations for the public through the banks. In order for the small notes to reach the hands of the people, we include 1-kyat, 5-kyat, 10-kyat, 20-kyat, 50-kyat, 100-kyat, 200-kyat and 500-kyat in the salaries of employees at Myanma Economic banks and to those who draw their retirement pension.
Q. Are these currencies issued only by the Myanma Economic banks?
A. Not at all. Our yearly distribution of small currency notes amounts to 40 billion kyats. It was 42.639 billion kyats in 2013-2014 fiscal year, 42.371 billion kyats in 2014-2015, 31.525 billion kyats in 2015-2016, 80.578 billion kyats in 2016-2017 and 89.386 billion kyats in 2017-2018, respectively.
We also distribute proportionately 50-kyat, 100-kyat, 200-kyat and 500-kyat small currency notes every month to state-run and private-owned banks. This way, people can exchange their big-note denomination to smaller ones at the CBM currency exchange counters in Nay Pyi Taw, Yangon and Mandalay.
Q. Could you explain how you dispense these small currency notes to the people?
A. We have already directed the Myanma Economic banks and other private banks to change old, worn-out, or otherwise unusable currency notes with new ones. We have opened several money exchange counters in Nay Pyi Taw, Mandalay and Yangon, aiming to accept time-worn, torn and damaged currency notes from markets areas, bus services and businessmen. In return, they can also draw small currency notes from their relevant banks, if needed.
Although the CBM has opened many exchange counters in various places, there are only a few people who contact our banks in order to exchange their damaged notes. As a consequence, it leads to shortage of small denominations circulating among the public.
Q. As for the public, won’t it be more convenient for them to draw small currency notes from their own bank accounts?
A. We have already directed state-run and private banks to issue whatever currency notes they need, and to make the process quicker and easier for them, so that, in the long-run, we can alleviate the shortage of small notes to some extent.
Q. Could you tell us the banks’ arrangements regarding these small currency notes?
A. As for the state-run and private banks, efforts are being made to facilitate payment processes, and the CBM has sent them directives to change damaged currency notes for the convenience of the people.
As mentioned above, all banks are being informed to offer an easy access to companies, bus services, stores and shopping centers to save and draw small denomination currency notes. You will find that these arrangements include drawing out small currency notes, such as 50-kyat, 100-kyat, 200-kyat and 500-kyat, by using an ATM card. The small currency notes in circulation become worn out due to various reasons, and accordingly, the CBM has arranged to open money exchange counters on every Wednesday. Moreover, what I want to inform is that we have placed special emphasis to solve the shortage of small denomination currency notes by including them proportionately in our currency notes printing process. This way, people can conveniently exchange and draw new currency notes they require at the banks.
Win Ko Ko Aung