New currency for new Sri Lanka

Wednesday, 9 February 2011 00:01 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

  • 11th series of currency notes released to public via commercial banks
  • Depiction of development projects expected to spur on more earnings
  • Latest counterfeit-proof technology introduced 
  • First Rs. 5,000 note printed


By Uditha Jayasinghe

Money and how to make more of it fast was the focus of the ceremony held to mark the release of the latest currency series on Monday night, with Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal pointing out that “doing things fast” is becoming a Sri Lankan trait.

The glittering launch decorated with coloured ice sculptures of birds depicted on the notes was addressed by Senior Minister for International Monetary Cooperation Dr. Sarath Amunugama as the Guest of Honour and the Central Bank Governor as Chief Guest. Cabraal was upbeat about the economic prospects of the country and insisted that a change of attitude was afoot.

“Earlier the attitude was that Sri Lankans are not very fast in doing things but now that is changing. Everywhere there are development projects springing up fast. Sri Lankans are doing things that would not even have been imagined a few years ago. We are also planning ahead. This series of currency notes was planned even before the end of the war because we believed that this day would come,” he said, adding that the notes reflected the new-found energy of the country.

Dr. Amunugama praised the work of the Central Bank and the new currency notes, which have been released after a lapse of 20 years. The last series that is currently in usage was released in 1991. He also noted that change was a good thing and people should not criticise the release of the new currency series.

“Everything must undergo a transition phase. When we started out our salaries were small but now with better prospects they have grown. Even though I will not say exactly how much we are earning now, it’s considerably more than earlier,” he joked.

Constant handling of the notes with drawings of the development projects would motivate people to make more money, he said. This would spur economic growth and help the country achieve its ambitious growth targets, according to Dr. Amunugama.

Titled ‘Development, Prosperity and Sri Lanka Dancers’ the currency notes have values of Rs. 20, Rs. 50, Rs. 100, Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 as well as an all new Rs. 5,000 demarcation for the first time in history.

Each of the notes have artist’s depictions of important development projects and on the right hand side a bird species of Sri Lanka as well as a butterfly on the opposite corner. On the back there are dancers and drummers of upcountry, low country and Tamil origins.

The guest were treated to a toe-tapping time with each note being introduced in a presentation followed by a dance item from the dancers depicted on the back of that note. For example, the Rs. 10 note has Vadiga Patuna and Gata Bera performers and the same danced for the audience after a short introduction of the note. Each of the other notes was similarly introduced before the speakers took the stage.

The colourful currency will fill wallets as the 11th series of notes is released by the Central Bank to commercial banks from where they will find their way to the hands of masses. These new notes have taken three years and seven months from concept to completion and come equipped with the world’s latest counterfeit-proof technology. They took over 100 working weeks to design and come with cornerstone bars to prevent the corners from curling, thus extending their usage.