Gaborone — The new polymer P10 banknote is to be placed in circulation in February next year with new security features.
Briefing the media on Monday, Bank of Botswana governor, Mr Moses Pelaelo said the bank note had been replaced following the public outcry over the quality of the current banknote.
He said the main reasons was durability, saying since the banknote was the lowest denomination, it stayed long in circulation compared with higher denominations.
The governor said under normal circumstances, the current P10 banknote was expected to remain in circulation for four months, but it had been observed that it remained in circulation for eight months because it was largely used as change.
Mr Pelaelo said the Bank had introduced several mitigation strategies, which although successful to a certain extent, had not effectively resolved the durability problem of the P10 banknote.
He said the campaigns also sought to clarify that the paper used in the production of the P10 banknote was the same paper used for other banknote denominations.
"Further, a varnish was applied on the P10 banknote to extend its lifespan," he said.
Mr Pelaelo said the bank took the decision to change the substrate for the P10 with the approval of the Minister of Finance and Economic Development.
He explained that the conversion to the polymer enabled the adoption of more advanced security features, such as see-through windows that contain hard-to-forge images, hence curtailing the potential for currency counterfeiting and enhancing confidence in the national currency.
A polymer substance is a thin, clear plastic film that can be printed on, similar to the paper substrate, he said.
Mr Pelaelo said the polymer substrate was more durable than the paper substrate, extending the lifespan of the banknote by approximately 3 - 4 times that of a banknote made of paper substrate.
This translates into reduced production, storage and transportation costs because of fewer numbers of replacement orders, he added.
"The non-absorbent nature of the polymer substrate provides an effective barrier to moisture and soiling, which keeps banknotes clean for a longer period," he said.
The process to change the banknote started with the design in January 2016 and involved evaluating the potency and desirability of replacing the paper substrate with the much durable polymer substrate.
Countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United Kingdom use polymer substrate; and this is where the bank benchmarked the P10 banknote.
The new P10 banknote has largely maintained the same design and colour as the current banknote, except that it has more advanced security features. It feels smoother than the paper banknote and it has a clear window, which replaces the watermark in the old paper banknote.
When the banknote is held up against light, a rampant zebra can be seen in the clear window from the Bank's crest on both sides of the banknote.
The figure 10 can also be seen in the shield beside the rampant zebra. When the banknote is tilted, a shiny golden diamond can be seen in the middle of the banknote.
Under ultra-violet light, various parts of the banknote such as the serial number on the left, a large number 10 next to the portrait of the President and some small text behind the Bank of Botswana title glow.
When examined under magnifying devices, some areas of the banknote that appear either as a line or areas of plain print, are in fact small letters and numbers. BOPA
Source : BOPA