The Ghana Blind Union has expressed dismay over the purported new GH¢5 note said to be introduced by the Bank of Ghana in March 2017, for lack of consultation.
The Union says although it has engaged the Central Bank in the past over the enhancement of security features on the currency notes to make it user friendly to persons with visual impairment, the Bank of Ghana (BoG) did not involve the union over their current decision.
There are media reports suggesting that the Central Bank will in March 2017, introduce a new GH¢5 note with new security features. The note which is being introduced as part of the BoG’s 60th anniversary will have additional security features, that are sensitive to touch to aid the blind and visually challenged in identifying the various denominations. The new GH¢5 note will be a legal tender.
But speaking to the issue, an Executive Member of the Advocacy Committee of the Ghana Blind Union, Alexander Bankor Williams told Goldstreet Business, though the union welcomes the development, they take serious offence that the BoG refused to allow members to verify a sample of the note since it is set to circulate in March.
He explained members have lost a lot of money due to their inability to differentiate between the various denominations.
Williams said although the coins are easy to identify because of the differences in sizes and edges, the same cannot be said about the currency notes.
Persons with visual impairment have only had to make assumptions over which denominations they had at a particular time because tatter markings for easy identification had worn off.
“We are only able to identify if we have different denominations at the same time. So we most a times have to do guess work to know which note is what denomination,” he disclosed
The Blind Union says the latest development by the Bank of Ghana comes to it as some news because it has not been contacted on the issue. .
“I want to believe if the BoG wants to bring out a currency in March then they may have printed or have started printing the notes so I doubt if we will be invited to make any inputs”.
“If you do something in our name, something you are doing for us but do not consult us, then that is an insult.
“So we look forward to an invitation from them so we can verify the quality of the tatter because we do not want it to wear off after the notes are used for a period as has happened in the past. We want to ascertain that the tatter is of good quality and will not last only when the currency is fresh.
It will be important to make it known to us before they start circulating it,” he said.
The Union however indicated it will appreciate it if the Central Bank took into cognizance, the various recommendations it made in the past years for the design of currency notes to suit visually impaired persons.
By Nana Oye Ankrah