BOJ seeking coin agents across the island
Almost five months after it announced plans for demonetisation of one-, 10- and 25-cent coins, which are being taken out of circulation and will cease to be legal tender after tomorrow, the Bank of Jamaica (BOJ) is yet to receive even one response from any regulated financial institutions.
After tomorrow, the BOJ will continue to accept the demonetised coins for redemption at its Nethersole Place offices in downtown Kingston. However, in an effort to facilitate persons in western Jamaica for whom travelling into the Corporate Area might not prove feasible, it had floated the idea of regional agents.
"We tried to get people to act as agents for us, but because of who we are, we can't just license individuals like that. It would have to be somebody linked to a regulated financial institution, who we could verify as fit and proper," Tony Morrison, acting director of public relations at the BOJ, told The Gleaner on Monday.
"If you had a supermarket, for instance, in Hanover, that would be a good idea, but we have no authority to monitor supermarkets, so we couldn't do that. One of the banks or one affiliated to remittance companies could have done it for us, but none took us up on the offer," he explained. "Hopefully, before the time is up, somebody will take it."
CHARITIES REFUSE OFFER
Charities have also been slow to take up the BOJ offer, which has come as a surprise to the central bank.
"This situation presents an opportunity for service clubs and other charitable organisations, as members of the public could, if they wish, turn these coins over to such organisations, who in turn can then redeem them at BOJ for cash, subject to the usual legal and statutory requirements," the central bank said in a release issued September 15, last year.
However, the word seems not to have got around.
"I just saw somebody downstairs who tells me that he tried to give coins to a very popular charity organisation and they sent him here. Now he is off to a primary school to give them," Morrison disclosed, even as he reiterated the offer.
"The door is still open for registered charities and regulated financial institutions to collect coins as donations and then encash them with us."
He added, "We normally get coins coming in any way, not those specifically, but merchants take in coins here every day, but I do notice this morning that the line for coins is unusually long for a Monday morning. So I'm sure it's no coincidence."