If you’ve ever considered becoming a coin dealer in Ghana, you might want to think twice. The Bank of Ghana, the African nation’s central bank, recently announced it is illegal to profit from buying or selling the nation’s coins or bank notes.
In an Oct. 1 public notice the bank warned trading in Ghana’s currency is a criminal offense regardless of the intended purpose. According to sources, the underlying problem is a concern about individuals selling the currency to commercial vehicle operators known as Trotro in need of low denominations. Trotro are privately-owned minibus share taxis that travel fixed routes but only when filled to capacity.
The notice posted through Bank of Ghana Secretary Sandra Thompson reads: “The Bank of Ghana wishes to inform and remind the general public, that it is the only institution with the right to issue and redeem Ghana cedi notes and coins in Ghana, according to Article 183 (1) of the 1992 Constitution and section 35 of the Bank of Ghana Act, 2002 (Act 612) as amended.”
“It is, therefore, illegal for any person or institution to buy or sell the Ghana cedi notes or coins currently in circulation, regardless of the purpose or intent for such trading.”
The bank statement continues, “Any person who buys or sells or offers or attempts to buy or sell any Ghana cedi note or coin at or for a lower rate than its face value or for an amount exceeding the face value, commits an offense and would be liable upon summary conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding 10 years, or to a fine not exceeding two thousand [2,000 cedi or about 345 USD] penalty units or both, in accordance with the Currency Act, 1964 (Act 242) as amended.”
“The Bank of Ghana, therefore informs the general public that all persons engaged in the activity of selling (online or otherwise) of Ghana cedi notes or coins currently in circulation, must desist from doing so immediately, and are prohibited from further engaging in such trades, with immediate effect.”
According to Thompson, the declaration doesn’t apply to anyone engaged in “money exchange for the purpose of making some denominations available to others who need them.” Nothing was said about the sale of the annually issued Bank of Ghana gold and silver Giants of the Ice Age bullion coins.
At the time this article was being written, coins of 2016 and earlier and bank notes from 2010 and earlier were being sold on eBay, presumably all by individuals who do not live in Ghana.
Ghana uses a currency system of 100 pesewas or Gp equal to one cedi. The cedi uses a GHC currency symbol. The current bank note system introduced in 2007 currently includes notes in denominations of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, and 200 GHC. Notes are printed by the security printing company De La Rue based in the United Kingdom, according to retired Bank of Ghana Deputy Governor Emmanuel Asiedu-Mante.
Since 1967 coins have been issued in denominations of 1/2, 1, 2-1/2, 5, 10, 20, 50 pesewas and 1 cedis. Due to inflation Ghana recently changed its coinage to 1 pesewa (equal to 100 old cedi), 5 pesewas (500 old cedi), 10 pesewas (1,000 old cedi), 20 pesewas (2,000 old cedi), 50 pesewas (5,000 old cedi), 1 cedi (10,000 old cedi), and 2 cedis (20,000 old cedi).